IT'S often said that all political lives end in failure. It's difficult to watch Woody Allen's latest turn in John Turturro's Fading Gigolo and not wonder whether something similar also applies to movie icons.
The screenplay was written especially for Allen, and is obviously intended to restore some sparkle to a reputation that has – despite Blue Jasmine – waned in recent years.
Allen stars as Murray Schwartz, owner of a bookshop that is about to go out of business. Opportunism knocks for Murray when his dermatologist (played by Sharon Stone) expresses an interest in paying for a menage a trois with her best friend, the voluptuous Selima (Sofia Vergara). Physically, Murray doesn't fit the bill but he knows someone who does.
Enter the always impressive Turturro as the flamboyantly named Fioravante, a part-time florist who could do with some extra income. Fioravante agrees to Murray's indecent proposal as a once-off but, the odd scruple aside, finds himself seduced by the lure of easy money. The wrestle with his conscience becomes a more even contest when his "work" brings him in contact with Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), a lonely Hasidic widow whose vulnerability prompts a crisis of conscience.
There is the odd laugh but they're too few and far between to dispel the slightly creepy sense that, thematically, we're getting a middle-aged male fantasy take on what women want. Who thought it was a good idea to close with a sequence that includes late- septuagenarian Allen and late fifty-something Turturro "flirting" with dazzling French beauty Loan Chabanol? And, more to the point, her flirting back. Er, don't think so, guys.