Fioravante decides to become a professional Don Juan as a way of making money to help his cash-strapped friend, Murray. With Murray acting as his “manager”, the duo quickly finds themselves caught up in the crosscurrents of love and money.
John Turturro’s directorial debut is a fun tale reminiscent of Woody Allen’s early works in its setting, use of music and quirky characters. In keeping with the Allen theme, it stars the man himself in one of his best acting performances in years. The premise begins with Allen’s character hitting upon an idea after a conversation with his dermatologist that Turturro’s character could find work as a gigolo. The set up is normally one you’d expect to play out in a cringe comedy, but it’s played completely straight by Turturro and co, and it’s all the better for it – you almost believe the characters when they reason that it’s a great idea.
The key to the film is the humour, and that’s delivered in spades by Woody Allen’s neurotic Murray, who plays out like an older and less cynical version of his character from ‘Manhattan’. John Turturro’s made an excellent career out of playing the straight man (and a few ventures to the outlandish – see The Big Lebowski), and he’s a perfect foil to Allen’s energy and they make a very entertaining double act. Support is provided by Liev Schreiber who heads up a disappointing subplot that focuses too much on stoic Judaism that we’ve seen countless times before, and the trio of women, Vanessa Paradis, Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara, who all encounter Turturro in his ‘new’ career.
The film doesn’t always work, and it often struggles to marry up the tonal inconsistencies between the crude premise and the humour, but it’s an enjoyable debut from John Turturro, that suggests his future as an independent director could be just as fruitful as his acting career.
Directed By: John Turturro
Starring: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis and Liev Schreiber