Mixing nihilistic wit, stringent social satire and jagged pathos, Chuck Palahniuk’s writing has a tendency to careen wildly between bracing mordancy and messy, faux-shocking salaciousness. For a time, Clark Gregg’s adaptation of the Fight Club author’s Choke delivers enough of the former to compensate for the latter as it focuses on the plight of Victor (Sam Rockwell), a shaggy ne’er-do-well sex addict with a masturbation-crazed best friend named Denny (Brad William Henke) and a dementia-addled mother named Ida (Anjelica Huston), as well as growing feelings for mom’s doctor Paige (Kelly Macdonald). Victor is a slovenly cretin whose main tactic for finding love involves deliberately choking in restaurants so others will save him, and Rockwell imbues him with sarcastic guttersnipe scuzziness that’s rooted in anger and resentment at his psychotic druggie mother, who during his youth would habitually kidnap him from his foster parents to accompany her on lunatic adventures. With a wiseass smirk that masks acute pain, Rockwell makes Victor’s porno-lounge-lizard debauchery downright endearing. Choke’s bouncy narrative, however, quickly turns muddled, failing to find a consistent rhythm – or a visual style (à la David Fincher’s Fight Club) that might match the material’s nasty, hyperactive vigorousness – as it transitions between present-day sex-therapy sessions, Victor’s twisted relationship with Denny and Paige, insinuations of Victor’s divine lineage, and flashbacks to his childhood that lack the scope necessary to fully convey the source of his maternal issues. Palahniuk’s caustic humor translates most sharply in to-hell-with-everything Victor’s daily grind at a colonial America park. Yet aside from a few choice sequences, Gregg’s script largely comes up short on the transgressive or poignant front, offering up mundane “extreme” bits of nastiness and half-baked sentimentality that aren’t offset (much less electrified) by the filmmaker’s straightforward direction.