There's a whole lotta fucking going on in Choke, Clark Gregg's adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's first-person novel about a sex addict named Victor Mancini with severe Mommy issues—fucking in a cramped airplane bathroom, on a barnyard's itchy haystack, in a grimy toilet stall, in a hospital's chapel even. Sam Rockwell plays Victor, an emotionally disconnected Colonial America theme-park employee who, in his spare time, ditches his sexaholic meetings to screw one of his fellow addicts on the bathroom floor; good thing he's her sponsor. Gregg has shuffled around some scenes (the book's first is now toward the film's end) while rendering the story altogether stickier with sentiment. But in the end, Gregg and Palahniuk wind up in the same place—with a dude for whom doing it just ain't cutting it anymore. And Palahniuk and Gregg, who has perhaps the film's funniest role as the theme park's strict taskmaster, both suffer the same flaw: They explain and explain again the genesis of Victor's demons, to the point where the novel and movie play almost like parodies of novels and movies in which a character has to get in touch with his feelings in order to become a better man. Basically, Victor's gonna fuck himself crazy or fuck himself sane—yawn.
Dec. 9-10, 2008