John Turturro has clearly become one of Hollywood’s best actor-writer-directors.
Murray (Allen), a.k.a. “Uncle Mo”, a.k.a. “Bongo” is a third-generation bookstore owner in New York City who is closing his business, but proposing a new money-making venture to former-employee-now-florist Fioravante (Turturro).
Without revealing more much than the film’s title, let's say Murray’s get-rich-quick scheme is less of a morality tale than it is about relationships...think Ratso Rizzo and Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy.
Like a doting nonna, Turturro whips up a delizioso cacciucco with a supporting cast that includes Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara as affluent lesbians, Liev Schreiber as a Hasidic watchdog, and French actress-model Vanessa Paradis as a repressed widow.
It’s hard to tell how much was influenced by Allen, but Turturro proves he's a cinematic impresario in his own right by recalling director of photography Marco Pontecorvo and film editor Simona Paggi from his 2010 musical film Passione.
Bottom line: If you like offbeat ensemble comedies, you’ll be more than satisfied by Fading Gigolo.
Turturro Trivia Timeline
• 1980 - Makes his first film cameo in Raging Bull
• 1986 - Plays a writer in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters
• 1990 - Appears in his first of four Coen Brothers films Miller's Crossing
• 1992 - Co-authors, directs and stars in the Caméra d’Or winning Mac
• 1994 - Receives Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Quiz Show
• 2011 - Directs three one-act Broadway comedies including Woody Allen’s Honeymoon Hotel
• 2013 - Plays Hades opposite Sharon Stone as Aphrodite in Gods Behaving Badly
• 2014 - Fading Gigolo, God’s Pocket (starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), Exodus released