‘American Gigolo’ TV show: Detractors blast Showtime’s ‘trashy’ series for erasing the memory of the classic 1980 movie

Paul Schrader’s 1980 film “American Gigolo,” which starred Richard Gere as the main character and was written and directed by Schrader, has recently been turned into a Showtime television series. The show stars Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye, who is freed from prison 15 years after being charged with murder. It follows Julian as he tries to make it in the contemporary Los Angeles sex scene, learns that he was falsely accused of the crime years earlier, and searches for Michelle, his true love.

One of the first mainstream Hollywood films to feature frontal male nudity by its main star, the original neo-noir crime drama was notable for establishing Richard Gere as a leading man and for being one of the genre’s pioneers. Giorgio Moroder’s musical score, which was nominated for a Golden Globe, and Blondie’s number-one single “Call Me” are also notable features. The news that the original movie would be turned into a series thrilled the audience. Critics contend that the remake ruined the memory of the much-anticipated cult classic from the 1980s. Continue reading to learn what reviewers are saying about the Showtime series.

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The first three episodes of “American Gigolo” were shown to critics. The main character of the show is Julian, who is trying to fit back into society. To do this, he meets up with his old friend and fellow prostitute Lorenzo (Wayne Brady), who has managed to keep his car and wardrobe in immaculate condition while he’s been away from the hustle. He also runs into Olga, his former madame, and Isabelle, her successor, both played by Sandrine Holt and Lizzie Brocheré. Further explanation is provided by flashbacks, which begin with Julian’s mother (Melora Walters) hawking him to neighbors and selling him to Olga. Olga in her opulent LA home, surrounded by all kinds of seductive young people teaching him how to speak (including in French), dress, and—most importantly—have sex.

The Showtime series was criticized and labeled “trashy” by critics. Indie Wire claims that “American Gigolo” has been transformed into a complicated murder mystery. It’s more than happy to imitate its trashy cable predecessors rather than embracing its distinctive elements. The series received a “D” overall.

It is gritty and snazzy, the series looks good in an unmemorable way, which seems to be a betrayal of the film’s most compelling element: Ferdinando Scarfiotti’s Venetian design scheme, the critic said of Datebook. In spite of some camera angles’ best efforts, Bernthal and Gere are two very different types of sexy. Speaking of sex, despite the series’ abundance of nudity and coupling, it frequently comes off as dull rather than the best money can buy.

Theplaylist.net gave it a D+ and stated that “It seems in the four decades between the projects, we’ve traded sex-positivity in a mainstream Hollywood film for graphic misogynistic violence on streaming television.”

Finally, Collider gave the series a C, saying that while Bernthal “obviously has the range required to give it the nuanced performance it deserves,” at this point in the story, “American Gigolo offers little to no excitement about its ultimate destination.”

It’s safe to say that critics have given Showtime’s “American Gigolo” negative reviews for its execution and mucking up the original plot. But whether or not the series lives up to the hype will ultimately be decided by the viewer.

On Friday, September 9, 2022, at 9 p.m., “American Gigolo” makes its debut.

Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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