Unrepentant sex addict Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) has always believed that life is about making other people do stuff for you. By day he does as little work as he can at a historical theme park and by night he cons money in restaurants by pretending to choke on his food. His only act of charity is to visit his insane, dementia-besieged mother (Angelica Huston) at a private clinic. One day Dr Paige Marshall (Kelly MacDonald) suggests a radical new treatment for his mother, one that will force Victor to face up to his past and put his life into a downward spin.
American actor turned writer/director Clark Gregg’s respectfully offensive adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s hilarious and sordid 2001 novel catches the central dialectic of Palahniuk’s book (that before things can get better they must get much worse) but is ultimately undermined by a faux or (Dario) Fo-ux wacky anarchism. But there is still plenty to enjoy in this leaky, messy mucous-wet little film.
Crucially Palahniuk’s misanthropic meditations on group therapy, fathers, religion, sex and the inheritance of mental illness are very much in place. That Gregg’s direction is at best choppy, at worst tone deaf is regrettable, but Palahniuk’s dialogue still maintains the ability to shock and the performances by all concerned are excellent.
General release from Fri 21 Nov.