"Fading Gigolo," written and directed by John Turturro, wants to be a Woody Allen movie so badly that Allen turns up in one of his rare acting parts, playing the world's most nebbishy pimp.

Turturro is Fioravante, a New York flower shop worker convinced by buddy Murray (Allen) to try his hand at prostitution. This leads to casual dalliances with characters played by Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara and a more serious one with Hasidic widow Avigal (Vanessa Paradis).

Turturro is a fine director in addition to being one of our great character actors, but this is a decidedly minor, almost drama-free effort, with faux-philosophical dialogue that plays like second-rate Allen material. It's a dated romp across an unrecognizable city, from Williamsburg to the Upper East Side, that's left utterly earth-bound by its mechanical plot, stereotypical characters and the odd spectacle of Turturro casting himself as a gigolo.

Fading Gigolo
2 stars
Directed by John Turturro
Starring John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis
Rated R
Playing at Angelika, Lincoln Plaza, 1,2,3