‘Fading Gigolo’ can’t disappear fast enough

Catholic News Service

It’s a safe bet that when a film is called “Fading Gigolo,” it’s best to keep the kids at home.

Predictably immoral, even vulgar, this “comedy” is also surprisingly unfunny, even though it features Woody Allen in a leading role.

Allen plays Murray, a cash-strapped Brooklyn bookseller who is always looking for the next big financial windfall. It comes in the most unexpected place: the office of his dermatologist, Dr.

Woody Allen and Liev Schreiber star in a scene from the movie “Fading Gigolo.” The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. (CNS photo/Millennium Entertainment)

Parker (Sharon Stone). For some inexplicable reason, she asks her elderly patient if he knows someone who would like to engage in a threesome, a “menage a trois” for those not up on the lingo, with her and her girlfriend. (It doesn’t seem to matter that Dr. Parker is already married.)

With the promise of a $1,000 windfall, Murray decides that his lonely friend, Fioravante (John Turturro, who also directed and wrote the screenplay), would be the ideal gigolo.

“You are an expert lover. You ought to get paid for it,” Murray says.

Fioravante, a florist by trade, has only a moment’s hesitation to the idea of being a prostitute. Soon he is servicing Dr. Parker and all of her friends, including the sexy Latina bombshell Selima (Sofia Vergara). Fioravante and Murray embark on a clandestine but lucrative business in the “world’s oldest profession.”

If this premise isn’t disturbing enough, “Fading Gigolo” also takes aim at organized religion. Murray lives in a neighborhood with a large Hasidic Jewish community. Dovi (Liev Schreiber) runs the Neighborhood Watch. He only has eyes for Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), a lonely widow.

Avigal, mother of six, longs to be free of the restrictions on Hasidic women. In a daring move, she accepts Murray’s offer to meet Fioravante for a “massage session.” Unexpectedly, she awakens feelings in Fioravante and they fall in love.

When the rabbi elders suspect immorality in their midst, they investigate (rightly so). What ensues is a tirade against moral values that are regarded as hopelessly out of date and old-fashioned.

For this and so many other obvious reasons, “Fading Gigolo” deserves to fade away fast from memory.

The film contains nudity, adultery, nonmarital sex, drug use and frequent profane and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O, morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted.