Come As You Are – Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Come As You Are - Review

Three friends head out on a journey or discovery and sex. Great another sex romp about three geeky guys who haven’t lost their virginity. What’s that you say? They’re disabled. Well… That changes things doesn’t it. This will be a most powerful study of triumph of adversity.

Yes I’m being sarcastic. But truthfully that’s kind of what I thought Come As You Are (originally titled Hasta La Vista) when I read the synopsis. Happily the film turns out to be better than both those descriptions would have you think. Philip (Robrecht Vanden Thoren), Lars (Gilles De Schrijver) and Jozef (Tom Audenaert); three friends who connect over women and discussions about their respective disabilities. Philip is a paraplegic, Lars is wheel chair bound due to a brain tumour and Jozef is blind. The film lays it’s premise out swiftly after the opening titles showing two buxom ladies jogging across a beach in slow motion all whilst Philip looks on admiringly. He decides that he’s tired of being a bored virgin and proposes a road trip across Europe which will eventually see them pop their cherries via any number of brothels. The set ups is all there for a bordy Sex Trip style film but director Geoffrey Enthoven is keen to show that there things aren’t as simple in real life as jumping in a mini van and getting involved in hi-jinks.

Firstly the group must convince their parents who are naturally concerned about letting their disabled children loose in Europe. They convince them by saying it’s a cultural trip involving wine tasting. Before the trip begins Lars hears that his brain tumour is worsening and has only a short time left. Defying their parents wishes they head off with their driver Clause (Isabelle de Hertogh), a large French lady who they have mistaken on the phone for a man with an effeminate voice. So Come As You Are becomes something of a ticking clock drama as the boys try to reach their goal of seeing more of the world and more of women whilst Lars is still capable.

There are a lot of the usual road trip tropes. The group get into trouble with other tourists, they fall out amongst themselves, they make up, fall out again over women, there are constant threats to derail their journey. There are genuinely funny moments and some very bleak moments concerning mortality and disability. Come As You Are never shirks away from showing the limitations that these young men have to overcome but neither does it overly dwell on them. Much like an early episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David points out that even people in wheelchairs can be rude, Philip is painted at times as very dis-likable. Frustrated by his condition he lashes out at friends with venom whenever he feels slighted but has no problem with his own double-standards. De Schrivjer as Lars stands out in particular as heart breaking. Almost angelic in looks he is the embodiment of a life cut short through the betrayal of his own body.

The third acts starts to feel a bit reminiscent of Sideways and Little Miss Sunshine as the foursome group together to enjoy their last hurrah, once on the run from their know knowing parents. All four lead actors are excellent and a film which I had misgivings of before turned out to be a very rewarding watch. Surprisingly funny, touching and in one scene in particular quite harrowing Come As You Are is one of those lovely surprises that greatly exceeds your expectations.

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