Fading Gigolo

John Turturro continues to explore the strange territory he began mapping out in his earlier directorial effort Romance & Cigarettes (2005), combining an affectionate view of New York ethnic enclaves, vaudeville-style humor, and frank discussions of sexuality. A solitary florist (Turturro), down on his luck, is persuaded by his bookseller friend (Woody Allen) to become an escort to rich, beautiful women. Everything goes well until he starts to fall for one of his clients (French model-actress Vanessa Paradis), the widow of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. The premise is preposterous and many of the gags are tasteless (like making Allen’s character the father of several poor black children), yet the tone is gentle, even elegiac, and the players are surprisingly sensitive. If you’re looking for something different, this won’t disappoint you. With Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, and Liev Schrieber as a Hasidic cop.