When John Travolta dropped out of American Gigolo everyone said he was ruining his career. But Travolta took a walk and Richard Gere stepped into his Georgio Armani suits. Travolta made the right decision . . .
Julian Kay – the gigolo in American Gigolo – is a smarmy and immoral male prostitute with cool talk, swinging hips, and tiny brains who exercises his pectorals even while talking on the phone.
You can hire him for anything at a price. He’ll translate foreign languages, act as a tour guide in the Hollywood discos, or beat you black and blue for sexual kicks.
He’s got a snazzy sports car and a closet full of tight pants and a tax-free income that is completely illegal. But he doesn’t have a heart.
Richard Gere plays the part like he’s auditioning for porno flicks. Lauren Hutton plays the bored wife of a California politician who humiliates and trashes herself for one night in his hormone heaven.
“Tell me everything about you,” she says after meeting him in a hotel bar. “We just made love, didn’t we?” he says with a smirk. “Then you know everything there is.”
He’s right. And that doesn’t make for a very interesting movie.
Gere poses in full frontal nudity, like a Playboy bunny, and there are X-rated love scenes accompanied by the filthiest dialogue this side of a Navy cargo ship.
Gere finds himself framed for a violent sex murder he didn’t commit and seeks revenge on the black homosexual pimp who is trying to send him to the electric chair.
Finally, the movie turns ludicrous when the Beverly Hills socialite races to his rescue and in a series of out-of-place dissolves stolen from the visual style of Chinatown (1974), we see a hardened criminal with no regard for human life learning the meaning of honesty, integrity and humanity through the love of a good woman.
Richard Gere is a capable actor, but he’s just TOO arrogant in this film. Lauren Hutton has the fashionable look of a society girl, the right boutique clothes from Rodeo Drive, and a deep, throaty voice to match.
It’s nice to see Hector Elizondo again as a savvy vice cop who secretly envies Gere while he’s booking him. And it’s always pleasant to see Candice Bergen’s mother, the soignée Frances Bergen, this time as a ritzy matron who enjoys the gigolo’s company on special occasions.
Nina Van Pallandt