‘American Gigolo’ assessment: Jon Bernthal stars in a Showtime reboot, however this name is not price answering

Tailored into collection kind by David Hollander, who subsequently left the challenge, the combo of flash and trash in and round sunny Southern California virtually makes the producer’s final cease for Showtime, “Ray Donovan,” appear cheery and upbeat by comparability. (Nikki Toscano, of Paramount’s “The Offer,” took over because the showrunner.)

Bernthal’s Julian is launched after 15 years in jail for a homicide he did not commit, and initially appears detached to the query of who may need framed him, regardless of the urgings of the detective (Rosie O’Donnell, solely one of many miscast co-stars) who helped put him away.

“Don’t you want to know what happened?” she asks.

As for the then and now of it, “American Gigolo” employs the acquainted system of leaping forwards and backwards in time, together with Julian’s entry into the sex-for-money enterprise as a youngster, underneath the stewardship of a madam (Sandrine Holt) who throws lavish pool events overlooking the ocean.

There is a leering facet to the sexuality within the collection that at occasions confuses “ick” with “edgy,” made worse by the truth that it includes minors. Neither is that helped by the strain of whether or not Julian will get again into the intercourse commerce, which, because the flashbacks clarify, is the one enterprise he actually is aware of.

Since “The Walking Dead,” Bernthal has appeared in varied tough-guy roles, together with Marvel’s plodding “The Punisher,” “The Many Saints of Newark” and most lately the fact-based HBO crime drama “We Own This City.” Right here, he will get to indicate off a extra weak facet, however Julian is such a tightly wound, impenetrable character that it is tough to grow to be significantly involved about his destiny, regardless of makes an attempt by these like his former colleague Lorenzo (Wayne Brady, once more considerably incongruously, as an grownup) to drag him out of his shell.

“American Gigolo” does its greatest to maintain peeling again layers on the thriller just like the movie noir of the previous, with the detective at one level telling Julian that he is “like the ‘Where’s Waldo?’ of f—ing crime scenes” as recent casualties happen.

The important thing to “Where’s Waldo?,” after all, is wanting to place within the effort to seek out him. “American Gigolo” tries to offer some incentive, however after the fast-paced montage as Debbie Harry belts out that title monitor, the inclination is to say “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

“American Gigolo” premieres September 9 on Showtime’s streaming service and September 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.