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'American Gigolo' TV show: Critics slam 'trashy' Showtime series that kills memory of iconic 1980 film

A critic mentioned, 'Speaking of sex, the series boasts copious nudity and coupling, but it often comes off dreary rather than like the best that you can buy'
Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye in Showtime's 'American Gigolo' (Showtime)
Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye in Showtime's 'American Gigolo' (Showtime)

'American Gigolo', the 1980s movie which was written and directed by Paul Schrader and featured Richard Gere as the main lead, was recently adapted into a series by Showtime. The series features Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye, who is released 15 years after being arrested for murder, It shows how him struggling to find his footing in the modern-day Los Angeles sex industry, seeking the truth about being framed for murder years ago and hoping to reconnect with his one true love, Michelle.

The OG neo-noir crime drama movie was notable for establishing Richard Gere as a leading man and was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to include frontal male nudity by its main star. It is also notable for its Golden Globe Award-nominated musical score, which was composed by Giorgio Moroder, and number-one single 'Call Me' by Blondie. Fans were really excited that the OG movie was being remade into a series. However, critics are claiming that the memory of the hyped '80s cult movie was ruined with the remake! Read on to know what the critics have to say about the Showtime series.


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'American Gigolo’s first three episodes were screened for critics. The show revolves around Julian, who is trying to get accustomed back in society, which involves snagging up with his old buddy and fellow prostitute Lorenzo (Wayne Brady), who’s kept his ride and his wardrobe in mint condition during his time away, and who continues to work in the hustling game as a manager. He also crosses paths with both his prior madame Olga (Sandrine Holt) as well as her successor Isabelle (Lizzie Brocheré). Flashbacks further elucidate Julian’s entry into this seedy world, beginning with his mom (Melora Walters) pimping him out to fellow residents and selling him to Olga. Olga at her glitzy LA home, populated by all manner of enticing young men and women teaching him how to dress, to speak (including in French), and, most importantly, to have sex.

Critics slammed the Showtime series and called it "trashy". According to Indie Wire, 'American Gigolo' has been twisted into a convoluted murder mystery. Instead of embracing its distinctive elements, it’s more than happy to mimic its trashy cable predecessors. They have given the series a 'D' grade. 

On Datebook, the critic said, "It is gritty and snazzy, the series looks good in an unmemorable way — which seems a betrayal of the movie’s strongest component: Ferdinando Scarfiotti’s Venetian design scheme. Some camera angles strive to make Bernthal resemble Gere, but let’s face it: they’re two very different kinds of sexy. Speaking of sex, the series boasts copious nudity and coupling, but it often comes off dreary rather than like the best that you can buy."

As per, "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," while grading it a D+.

Lastly, according to Collider, "The show's premise on its own is intriguing, and Bernthal obviously has the range required to give it the nuanced performance it deserves, but at its current juncture, American Gigolo offers little to no excitement about its ultimate destination." They rated the series with a C.

Safe to say, Showtime's 'American Gigolo' has poor reviews from critics for its execution and messing up the original storyline. However, the audience will be the ultimate judge to determine whether the series is worth the hype or not.

'American Gigolo' premieres at 9 pm on Friday, September 9, 2022,