It occurs to me that in movies, turning to the sex trade to supplement one’s income always seems to be a far more plausible proposition than in real life. So I guess we are just going to have to operate on the assumption that prostitution is—how should I put this—a viable option for the average Joe. Apparently, it also is an option for the average Josephine.

Fioravante (John Turturro) is a part-time florist who is having trouble making ends meet. When his friend Murray (Woody Allen) tells him that his dermatologist (Sharon Stone) mentioned she was looking for a 'professional' to participate in a threesome, Murray suggests Fioravante be the stud in question. (Now, if you are willing to let the idea that a doctor in the confines of an examining room during a consult would engage in such personal, inappropriate, unprofessional, illegal, unethical, creepy all means, stay in your seat.) Fioravante agrees, and soon he is feathering his nest, pleasing the lonely ladies of Bensonhurst. Everything is going swimmingly until he falls in love with a potential client, a lonely Hasidic widow, Avagail (Vanessa Paradis).

Of all the words that come to mind when thinking of this movie, the one at the forefront is absurd. Almost every circumstance in the film is so implausible I can’t imagine anyone reading the script without wondering if the writer was joking. Turturro is a brilliant actor and his directing is excellent; the screenplay, however, in another story—well, I wish it were another story. It’s a 3.

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