Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Choke *cough* *hack* *urg* *vomit*

Cake Man and I desperately tried to suffer through Choke last night, but we just weren't able to do it. I'm not sure if it was because of the flat jokes, awful dialogue, jumbled mess of thin subplots, completely unsympathetic characters, the juvenile-feeling naughtiness for naughtiness' sake or a combination of all of the above that ruined this one for us. I watch plenty of bad movies, but this one really disappointed me. It FELT like it could have been really good - what went wrong?

I came into the movie expecting something along the lines of Fight Club (as I'm sure a lot of viewers did). I know not to expect David Fincher-like production values from a directorial debut by an actor turned writer/director, but there was just so much that was godawful in this movie that I had to wonder if some fault stems from the source material. Palahniuk is a writer who often pushes the line for shock value - but any attempts at edginess in the film version of Choke come off more childish than anything. I haven't read the book yet, but the movie makes me want to.

Ty Burr's review at the Boston Globe seems to point the finger at writer/director Clegg:
Great swatches of narration have been imported from book to screen, and while Rockwell delivers these with sardonic ease, the approach is still the opposite of cinema. Palahniuk fans will get what they came for and come away scratching their heads, because Gregg has mistaken the literal for the literary. He has fashioned an amiable Xerox that stubbornly refuses to shock like the real thing.
I guess this is my question: Are all of the Choke's faults present in the novel, or was the movie just a terrible adaptation? Can anyone who's read the book already shine a bit of light on the topic?