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Reviewer's grade: C-

Sam Rockwell stars as Victor Mancini, a 30-something who works as a guide at a reconstructed colonial village. His best friend Denny (Brad William Henke) works with him and they both have the same two problems "? their boss, Lord High Charlie (Clark Gregg, who also wrote the script and directed), who peppers his speech with "thees" and "thou hasts," and the fact that they are both sex addicts. Denny masturbates 15 times a day, which is more often than some people exhale, and Victor will screw any woman who, well, exhales at least 15 times a day.

Victor's mother Ida (Angelica Huston) is in a long-term care hospital and the cost is killing Victor. To make some extra cash he runs a unique scam: he pretends to be choking in upscale restaurants and he allows rich people to save his life. He then makes sure they feel responsible for his continued well-being by sending him cash. Victor's life with Ida becomes complicated when she, mistaking him for an old lawyer friend of hers, tells him that the man he's always thought was his father, wasn't.  There's a real chance that I've missed the point of "Choke," which is based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel.

Maybe I'm not supposed to believe any of it, or, if I do, find any social redemption in it "? that it's all just nihilistic fun "? but I'm not sure it works on that level, either. No matter how you look at it, it's either too much or too little. R

"?Doug Bentin


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