It seems that the higher wattage cast a film features, the worse the film ends up. It’s almost as if the filmmakers feel that the cast will hide any problems lurking in the script or production values. “Fading Gigolo” has a big name cast, but not much else to offer.
The premise starts out promising enough with Murray, struggling for money, offering his friend a proposition. Murray wants Fioravante to have sex with his doctor, who is looking to try a ménage a tois. Before long, Murray (Woody Allen) has a full roster of clients for his friend to pleasure. Among those clients is an orthodox Jewish widow, who throws a wrench in the plans when Fioravante falls for her.
In his follow-up to 2005’s “Romance and Cigarettes,” John Turturro again serves as writer and director. There’s not a clear narrative that he is trying to tell. He has multiple stories being told; attempting to bridge them with Fioravante. In doing so, he fails to create any characters that have any depth to them. They serve more a plot devices than actual characters, which is a waste of talent for a cast that also includes Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, and Liev Schreiber.
Allen is one of the few bright spots in the film, adding brief moments of comedy into the mix. Stone is also a welcome sight, though she does little more than act as eye candy -- offering the film's only nudity, though it is completely gratuitous. In her limited role, she plays against type as a sexually curious doctor. It’s good to see her playing someone who is nervous about her encounter with the amateur sex worker.
“Fading Gigolo” is a meandering exercise that will be as test of patience for the audience. Turturro offers disjointed parallel storylines and few arcs among the characters. Turturro is doing his best to create a Woody Allen film. Despite the director’s appearance, “Fading Gigolo” proves that it is easy to imitate but hard to ever duplicate a legendary director’s work.