Possibly less entertainment than an incidental libido deflationary device, Choke is the talky odyssey of Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a glum sex addict in sexaholic recovery when not, well, having sex. Never has the pursuit of erotic pleasure seemed less satisfying than, say, chemotherapy.
Based on the novel by Fight Club’s Chuck Palahniuk, Choke seems to be a cynical commentary by this gay writer on warped heterosexuality, though I’m not sure exactly what his point is, or why. Suffice it to say that there isn’t a single character here who isn’t simply batty, perverse or unlikable, including lewd leading man Victor, who might be the first on screen designated dirty young man ever.
Yet another damaged product of that plentiful batch of bad and badder movie screen mommies, in this case Anjelica Huston as Mancini’s long neglectful free spirit single parent Ida, this subversively-minded morose guy works as a disgruntled Irish immigrant indentured servant at a patriotic historical theme park. Not making enough money to pay for his increasingly demented mom’s nursing home care, Mancini habitually fakes choking fits in restaurants in order to squeeze sympathy bucks out of diners.
The problem is that Mancini’s questionable pursuits are frequently interrupted by even more questionable obsessions. And it’s a laundry list that includes a voracious appetite for ‘meaningless sex with perfect strangers,’ the irresistible urge to mentally undress nuns and elderly women, quickies in churches, and sex involving a stethoscope, enough said.
But Mancini’s overriding preoccupation lately is to find out who his unknown father may be, hopefully before Mom loses all her faculties. And according to already far from lucid lady, the mystery dad could be either Jesus or a traveling salesman from Norway.
Rockwell doesn’t disappoint with the level of crazed intensity he injects into this down in the dumps, pouting pervert, but this all talk and little action series of sour sexcapades feels limp in comparison. Along with a perhaps more fitting title highly recommended: I See Nude People.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Features: Audio Commentary by Director/Writer/actor Clark Gregg And Actor Sam Rockwell; Behind the Scenes; Gag Reel; Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary by Writer/Director Clark Gregg And Sam Rockwell; Featurettes: A Conversation with Clark Gregg and Chuck Palahniuk; My Name Is Victor, and I’m A Sex Addict; A Mother’s Love; From the Los Angeles Film Festival; Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session; Theatrical Trailers.