Choking Man | Chicago Reader

Choking Man

Steve Barron, whose resumé ranges from classic music videos (Michael Jackson's “Billie Jean,” Dire Straits' “Money for Nothing”) to not-so-classic comedies (Coneheads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), makes a laudable left turn into low-budget indie drama with this 2006 tale of a painfully shy Ecuadoran dishwasher (Octavio Gomez Berrios) slaving away at a Queens diner. Smitten with a sunny waitress (Eugenia Yuan) and taunted by a loudmouthed cook (Aaron Paul), the timid young man periodically disappears out the back door to crawl through a hole in a chain-link fence and hide in the weeds. The movie is weakly plotted, but its working-class characters are vividly realized, none more so than the silent, aching protagonist. With Mandy Patinkin. 83 min.

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