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Nobody knows how to create deplorable characters quite like Chuck Palahniuk, and Choke's Victor Mancini is one of his worst. He's a con-artist that purposely chokes on food in restaurants so those who save him will feel obliged to help support him financially. He's a sex addict who's going through rehab without any ambition of actually following through with it, he mostly uses it to pick up on nymphomaniac girls. His whole attitude towards life is to be as big of a dick to everyone who has the misfortune to run across him. Only two people are able to put up with him, his best friend Denny, a chronic masturbator, and his mother who's losing her mind to dementia.

I read Choke about 9 years ago, so I didn't really remember anything beyond his character flaws, which are easier to tolorate in book form, where you have the insight of being inside his head. So I wasn't quite sure how they were going to pull this film off. They got off to a good start by casting Sam Rockwell, he's one of the few actors who can act like a complete prick and still come across as charming.

Don't go into this film expecting anything like Palahniuk's prior adaptation Fight Club. First time director Clark Gregg, isn't ready to sniff David Fincher's shorts, let alone create a masterpiece. The tone is really light for a Palahniuk world, every disgusting act is treated like a joke, there isn't much substance to grab onto, no emotional backbone. The film feels like a quick glossing over of the novel, with all the plot developments flying by without much thought. It jumps quickly from scene to scene, with the current scene not having much to do with the one that proceeded it. The only full arc in the film is him dealing with his mother dying.

The film moves along quickly, and most of the scenes, in their own right, are entertaining. Rockwell is very good as the anti-hero Victor, he really saves the film from becoming a complete mess. He's able to connect the dots for us between his sex addiction and the love for his abusive mother in a way that the screenplay doesn't. In a better filmmaker's hands this could have been something special, but mostly it's brainless entertainment. If you're looking for something offbeat, this might make your night, but the film will be remembered as any sort of cult classic. - Grade: C+

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