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John Turturro must be joking with 'Fading Gigolo'

* (out of four)

Full disclosure: I am not a beautiful, lonely, middle-aged woman.

Yet I can say with relative confidence that someone like the person described above (who also looked like Sharon Stone) might be more discriminating than hiring a gigolo who looks like John Turturro. As for the notion that Stone's character and her friend, played by Sofia Vergara, want to have a threesome with this guy -- which may be derailed by a ridiculous romance he develops with a widow (Vanessa Paradis) -- I'm going to laugh to keep from screaming.

Turturro ("The Big Lebowski," "Transformers") directed "Fading Gigolo" and wrote the part for himself. It's such an absurd excuse to surround a schlub with hotties that I'm shocked Adam Sandler didn't create this movie himself. Also: Fioravante (Turturro) decides his gigolo name will be Virgil Howard (the fourth Stooge, methinks) and his pimp, played by Woody Allen (!!!!!), chooses the name Dan Bongo. If you're not saying, "No real person would hire a male prostitute, no matter how good his word-of-mouth, if he was represented by a guy named Dan Bongo who looked like Woody Allen," are you out of your mind?

Liev Schreiber co-stars as Dovi, a cop in an orthodox Jewish community with a crush on Avigal (Paradis) but zero curiosity about her state of mind or struggles raising her six kids. Occasionally Dan Bongo spends time with his black grandchildren, while also raising Dovi's suspicions. When Dovi and his cronies kidnap Bongo, he shouts, "I've already been circumcised!"

Turturro's not an awful director. Spanish guitar plus a leafy background plus Paradis' flowing hair is going to create sensuality. But the delusional, sleazily written "Fading Gigolo," a study of loneliness that should itself have been isolated from society, left me feeling shocked and dirty.

Watch Matt review the week's big new movies Fridays at noon on NBC.

mpais@tribune.com

 

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