Fading Gigolo, the fifth feature from writer-director -- and, of course, actor -- John Turturro is a three-legged cat of a movie that ambles along cheerfully and sweetly, possibly without ever quite knowing where it's going. Resolute if somewhat off-kilter, it always keeps moving. And where else are you going to see the très adorable Vanessa Paradis as a Brooklyn lice-picker?
Woody Allen plays Murray, the owner of a rare-books store. He needs money: He lives with a woman, played by Tonya Pinkins, who may be a wife, friend, or girlfriend, and is helping to support a family of four kids. As it turns out, Murray's dermatologist has mentioned that she and her girlfriend are interested in setting up a threesome -- might he know a suitable candidate? (The movie casually accepts that dermatologists in New York ask these sorts of questions.) Murray thinks of his friend, Fioravante (Turturro), a part-time florist. Fioravante needs money, too -- and, as he comes to find out, Murray's "clients" turn out to be sultry hotties played, with gusto, by Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara.
Turturro's casting himself as a sex symbol in his own movie is probably intended as a bit of a joke, though it isn't one at all. Turturro's Fioravante is sexy. That has less to do with the specifics of his face than with his carriage and demeanor. Fioravante puts on polished shoes and a dashingly tailored overcoat and steps out on Fred Astaire legs to meet his clients; he heats up any joint he walks into. Fading Gigolo is a breeze, enjoyable both for its sweetness and its unapologetic silliness.