Celebrated pedophile Allan Konigsberg plays an elderly pervert who gets the idea to pimp his buddy John Turturro to rich New York bitches Sofia Vergara and Sharon Stone. Vanessa Paradis, meanwhile, is a rabbi’s widow and object of Turturro’s infatuation, while Liev Schreiber is the neighborhood watchman who has his eyes on both Paradis and Turturro for different reasons. If one can get past the goofy concept of Sharon Stone paying to have sex with John Turturro, Fading Gigolo is a nicely played (if imprecisely titled) drama that shines particularly in moments of intimacy. The film conveys a real sense of the tension, suspense, and awkwardness that occur when a man and woman meet and find themselves alone in a room. Writer-director Turturro’s storytelling is slightly sloppy, and one character’s arc makes a rather abrupt angle without sufficient articulation or warrant; but the fine performances make most of the material work.
3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Fading Gigolo is:
5. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation. Konigsberg’s family is black. Arguably the most disturbing moment of the movie (given Konigsberg’s history) is when a black kid comes out of the bathroom and announces, “My butt hurts.”
4. Anti-marriage. “Fuck you, Claude!” Stone shouts at a photograph of her husband as Turturro screws her.
3. Pro-slut. The film at no point evinces a judgmental attitude toward any of the various characters’ nihilistic depravity. Prostitution is no more or less respectable a profession than fixing pipes or driving a cab.
2. Anti-religion. Conservative Judaism places unnatural constraints on Paradis, who is never at leisure to feel comfortable as a sexual being. A gathering of rabbis appears as backward and petty.
1. Jewish supremacist. Notwithstanding Fading Gigolo’s irreverence toward Judaism, there is one revealing scene in which Konigsberg, in giving Turturro a pep talk before an appointment, compares the necessity of enabling (gentile) women’s debauchery to a butcher accustoming himself to dismembering cattle. A sinister meaning might also be read into a scene in which Paradis explains the best way to cut a fish into fillets.