Plot: A robbery might seem like an odd place to reconnect with old friends, but that is what happens when Corey (Chris Marquette) finds himself at gunpoint, with a former classmate holding the trigger. He recognizes the hold up man as Luke (Michael Eklund) and warns him that the deli has little cash, then the two talk about the upcoming class reunion. After a memorable end to the robbery, Corey finds himself thinking a lot about the reunion and in specific, one person from his past. Sheena (Amanda Crew) remains on his mind and while she has gone on to become a famous professional wrestler, Corey imagines a potential reconciliation. But even under ideal circumstances, can the meek, unambitious Corey somehow prove to Sheena that he is her true love or will the reunion be just another failure in his life?
Entertainment Value: If you’re drawn to Chokeslam for the pro wrestling elements, you might be disappointed. The narrative involves a female pro wrestler and Mick Foley makes a quick appearance, but it is more or less used to add spice to a dull script that needs all the help it can get. This is a romantic comedy at heart, but it refuses to commit and the end result is an uneven, forgettable experience. The script doesn’t want to take things seriously, but also doesn’t run with the sillier aspects of the material, leaving us with a movie as bland as oatmeal. The drama is left undeveloped, so it is hard to care about anyone or what happens and the humor is either over the top or restrained, neither of which lands with consistent laughs. I think the writers hoped the story of a nerdy loser having a chance with a strong, successful woman would be enough to win over audiences, but there’s so little development or entertainment involved, the whole movie just sinks. Not the worst comedy I’ve seen, but totally forgettable and not worth a recommendation.
The material is thin and generic, but I have to give credit to the cast, as they try to make the script work. Amanda Crew is the standout, as she brings a strong presence to the movie and is impossible to ignore. She turns in a powerful performance here, if a little over the top at times and if the material could have supported her talent, the movie would have been much better. I don’t think she had great chemistry with Chris Marquette, which kills the romance aspect of Chokeslam, but her presence is the film’s highlight. Marquette is fine in the lead, though he doesn’t come off as memorable or all that likable. He just sort of goes through the motions and the material is so thin, his turn is fine. Michael Eklund does what he can with the lackluster script, while Mick Foley is terrible in a small comic relief role. He plays a character, but dresses and behaves as himself, which is an odd choice. I wanted to like Chokeslam, but this is just a dull, bland picture.