When you realize that Choke originally came from Chuck Palahniuk the same twisted mind who gave us Fight Club you start to get the idea of what you’re in for. Adapted by writer/director Clark Gregg the film version can’t possibly match Palahniuk’s bizarre carnal universe but it will have to do. Medical school dropout Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) is basically a slacker sex addict working as a ‘historical interpreter’ at a theme park in New England which means he spends most of his day job boinking milk maids in the hay for pay. When he’s not on the job he and his buddy Denny (Brad William Henke) spend lots of time at AA-type meetings for sex addiction. It’s clear Victor was one screwed up dude growing up under the ultra-liberal and unconventional eye of his nutty mother (Anjelica Huston). Now mom is suffering from Alzheimers and in a home that her son pays for by staging near-death scenes in upscale restaurants. He pretends to choke on food and later snags some dough from his kindhearted (and wealthy) rescuers which he uses to support mommie dearest. The plot such as it is just gets wilder from there as Victor uses all his “talents” to get it on with his mother’s new doc (Kelly MacDonald) a woman with strange ideas of her own. Rockwell has not reached any kind of major stardom levels yet but in film after film he proves he’s an actor’s actor and one of the most inventive thesps around. Choke is no different. He lifts some dicey material and makes it work on the sheer force of personality morphing effortlessly into Victor ultimately winning over the audience and making this one-dimensional guy more complex than he has any right to be. He’s particularly good playing opposite Henke who has got the messed-up-loser-pal act down pat. They’re very funny together. Huston is weirdness personified but you have to admire her for even taking on this kind of kook. The other women are certainly pleasant to watch and just as loony as the rest of the cast. MacDonald scores in her scenes with Rockwell and so does Paz de la Huerta as a fellow sex addict who spends much of the sessions in the bathroom falling off the proverbial “wagon” with Victor. Bijou Phillips clearly has fun in the theme park scenes. Actor turned writer and director Clark Gregg certainly gets the tone of the strange Palahniuk world but steers this ship to mixed results. To be fair dark comedy like this isn’t easy to pull off even for the most experienced of directors and Gregg probably should have reined it in a bit. Where he does succeed 100 percent is in the spirited performances he has elicited from his cast particularly Rockwell who seems to be having a great time and it translates on screen. As an actor himself (he even has a role here as Lord High Charie manager of the theme park) Gregg understands the tightrope these performers are walking in bringing this kind of crazy quilt to life and he really lets them rip. Choke is a relatively small film designed for quirky tastes and on that level and for Rockwell’s manic performance it’s worth a look.