The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Choke

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Jacqueline MonahanFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Jacqueline MonahanFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Jacqueline MonahanFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Jacqueline Monahan Judy Thorburn

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil
Choke - Will Leave Audiences Gagging

I am going to get right down to basics. The film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s (he also wrote Fight Club) novel, written and directed by Clark Gregg is a lewd, tasteless, mean spirited film and a waste of good talent.   That said, let me shed some light on the film’s writer/director who also cast himself in a small role. As an actor, TV viewers might recognize Gregg as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s ex-husband in the comedy series, The New Adventures of Old Christine.  In real life, he is married to actress Jennifer Grey, who decades ago made an impressive debut in Dirty Dancing opposite Patrick Swayze, but then claimed her career went down the drain, and couldn’t get work when she had a nose job that completely changed her appearance.   I don’t buy that excuse for one second, but who cares anyway, right?  Jen’s dad is legendary musical stage performer/ Oscar winning actor (Cabaret) Joel Grey.  I mention this because as Gregg’s father-in-law this can be the only reason why Grey would appear in this film. Enough said about that six degrees sort of stuff.

Whether the book is as insulting to women, caregivers, the elderly, and people suffering from Alzheimer’s, I do not know, not having read it.  But, if this film version is indeed a faithful adaptation, there is no way I would want to.  Speaking strictly in terms of the movie, laughs are few and mostly derived from crude scenes involving female humiliation that the male of the species (at least from the hysterical male reactions at the preview I sat thru) seem to find funny.  I wanted to turn around and smack the obese piece of male lard who sat behind me.

As I recall, Choke was screened last June at the CineVegas film festival and, not knowing what I was in for, I was disappointed when I wasn’t able to secure a ticket.  Now, after the fact, I realize I was spared and didn’t miss a thing. Obviously, it was on the festival’s roster of films because it stars two actors, Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston that appeared in person as award honorees for their achievement in film. Only, if I were them, I would be trying to forget this “mistake” and delete it from their otherwise, impressive body of work.

Sam Rockwell stars as Victor Mancini, a sex addicted, medical school dropout who works a day job as an actor at a Historical Colonial Re-enactment Theme Park.  When not visiting the expensive private nursing home to see his mentally ill mother Ida (the great Anjelica Huston) whose memory is rapidly fading from Alzheimer’s, his nights are spent dining at upscale restaurants where he fakes choking so that wealthy patrons will come to his aid, save him and offer cash to help pay for his mother’s care facility.  In between work and visits to mom, he somehow makes time to attend a sex addicts’ support group that acts as a means to hook up with willing, horny females.

But random sex with just about any available female isn’t his only problem even though his imagine runs wild with thoughts of   elderly female patients at his mother’s facility, as well as an old nun, in the buff.    Victor is troubled that his mother no longer recognizes him as her son and there is no other woman he can relate to in a loving way, that is, until he meets up with his mother’s attractive doctor Page Marshall (Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, trying unsuccessfully, to speak with an American accent) who comes up with a rather unorthodox method that may help bring Ida’s memory back.

Flashbacks show that growing up with his wacko mom wasn’t exactly what you would call normal. Dysfunctional is more like it, and Victor was left with issues when it came to worthwhile connections with the opposite sex and finding his own identity.

In a lucid moment when Ida reveals that she has been secretly hiding the truth of his father’s identity, Victor becomes obsessed with finding out who he is, while an outrageous rumor is circulating that Victor might be the offspring of, now get this, none other than Jesus Christ. Oh, lord, can it get any more shocking? You have no idea what this entails.

While there is an underlying theme about mother/son relationships and the search for self discovery, the film crosses the line into perversity.  Instead of being a smart, dark comedy Choke is offensive on almost every level. This is a vulgar, misogynistic film where all women are perceived as sluts and rape tops the list of female sex fantasies.

I won’t expound on the sick and disgusting scenes that prevail throughout the storyline. I refuse to get graphic. See it at your own discretion, but remember you were forewarned.  What a waste of good actors!  Even with an ending meant to be heartfelt, Choke is stomach turning and made me want to gag.