As odd as it is to say, Turturro is surprisingly charmant as a male gigolo and honestly,I would have liked to see that side developed more. His brief interactions with his clients are probably the highlight of the entire movie, due to how simplistic yet honest they are. Turturro himself appears as very endearing, surprisingly so in fact. It’s very subtle but he easily comes off as lovable and even gentle. It’s easy to understand why the women warm up to him so quickly. It was probably entirely thanks to Woody Allen’s face plastered on the poster that made me assume this would be more of a comedy than what it actually ended up being. It certainly has its moments and at times is even a funny little film, it just doesn’t end up amounting to much. Perhaps I’ve seen too many male gigolo movies in my time, but the movie just offered very little new in terms of handling the subject and the love story was pretty trite.
The fundamental flaw of the movie is that it’s too short and doesn’t have any space left to let the movie breathe, to allow things simmer in the pot for a moment. The storytelling is so hasty that entire movie feels underdeveloped, despite telling a very simple story. While the relationship with the Jewish widow was kinda touching (her loneliness really was easy to identify with) ultimately it just moves too quickly: as soon as the relationship starts to blossom, it is already withering away, making the entire romance feel frivolous to some extent. And of course the entire final conflict falls entirely flat. While funny as an idea, the Jews kidnapping Allen and putting him on Rabbinic Court doesn’t really seem to go anywhere and it’s too easily then resolved. It does have consequences but it just doesn’t work as a dramatic ending, because it feels entirely disconnected instead of a logical next chapter in the story.
They do patch the damage up in the epilog of sorts, where Turturro and Allen have a nice little chat about quitting the sex business, only to get a little gleam in their eye again when they meet a particularly beautiful french lady, hinting that they might not be entirely done after all, but it doesn’t really click the way it should. Instead of making the pair look like two little lovable rascals falling into their bad habits again instead of learning a “lesson” it comes off as rather meaningless, because it holds no narrative power and and is a weak closing cue for the curtains to fall.