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'Fading Gigolo' breezes by with casual charm

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Fading Gigolo

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Before Woody Allen besmirched his good name (with bad behavior) he was known as a master filmmaker. Most fans and critics would say his best days belonged to the 70's. Films such as "Annie Hall" or "Manhattan", not only were they commercial hits and award ready but, a culture touchstone in wit, smarts and even in one case, lead actress Diane Keaton's fashion.

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However, for my money I prefer his 80's movies. With a pretty awesome list of titles like "Broadway Danny Rose", "Hannah and her Sisters", "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "Zelig". Allen, often as the neurotic star, featured terrific supporting casts, snappy dialogue and jazzy soundtracks that typified the renowned writer and his free-form style of filmmaking.

Well, why all this talk of Woody Allen you ask? Especially when you've come here to read about "Fading Gigolo". Well, Allen is in it (as a supporting actor) although it's actually director and lead actor John Turturro who channels the aforementioned celebrity. I wonder if he found one of Allen's old scripts ? Of course, recalling those astute Comedies of the time period I like the most, making a breezy little film that flits by with casual charm.

Opening this weekend in Pittsburgh theaters, "Fading Gigolo", finds Fioravante (Turturro) deciding to become a professional hustler as a way of earning cash to help his poor friend, Murray (Allen). With Murray acting as his manager, the pair quickly finds themselves caught up in the crosscurrents of love, money and a business like arrangement concerning a menage a trios involving a crazy duo of lesbians (Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergaro)

Often funny, sometimes moving, occasionally goofy as hell. This Turturro vehicle is driven by solid acting, considerable talent and likable characters. A postcard to the big apple, a love letter to an old flame, a song that beats in the heart. All these cliches add up to something fresh that reminds one of a gentler, softer time and place when Romance and Comedy at the movies mattered more than someone's personal life.

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