Scotty (Grant Rosenmyer) is horny. He’s 24, he’s never had sex, he lives with his mother and yet sex is all he thinks about. Sex and aspirations to be a rapper anyway. Sick of never getting what he wants and being under the control of his mother, Liz (Janeane Garofalo) Scotty finds a website that caters for men like him and their sexual needs. He just needs to convince some people to come with him because the brothel he wishes to go to is in Canada and, oh yes, Scotty uses a wheelchair.
Matt (Hayden Szeto) is newly disabled after an accident and arrives at the same physical therapy centre clinic that Scotty attends, immediately hitting it off with him – in the worst way possible. Scotty is obnoxious, rude and confrontational, he may have needs that are going unfulfilled, but he’s going about life in all the wrong ways. However, after Matt hears about Scotty’s offer of a road trip and after Matt realises that his girlfriend has moved on, he sees no other option but to join Scotty on the road.
Coming along for a ride is Mo (Ravi Patel) a visually impaired man who works at the physical therapy centre and considering he’s in his thirties and still a virgin himself, he jumps at the chance. So, the trio set off on their adventure – not anticipating that their driver would be a woman, Sam (Gabourey Sidibe).
Come as You Are is a remake of the Dutch film Adios Amigos which is in turn a remake of the Belgian film that shares the same name as this English language remake. However, without having seen the previous versions of the film I can only come to a few conclusions. Either the film has accurately copied some of the scenes from the original so that fans would recognise it, the film makers didn’t even consider that making the scenes less insulting and more acceptable would matter if they were in the original. Or new scenes were added to make the film funnier but they were done at the expense of the disabled characters.
A running gag of Mo mistaking one thing for another because of not having 20/20 vision and a scene involving Scotty dropping his mobile phone and struggling to get it because of his inability to bend down and pick it up are all part of the ‘hilarity’. A surprise considering the tone of the film and the subject, but it’s not something I’d expect to see in a film on this with these characters this far into the 21st century, but apparently the cast and crew were fine with it.
However, it’s not all bad though as the best parts of the film are the scenes where the film forgets that the majority of the cast are disabled, giving them the chance to become more human. However, these scenes are often far too short or are immediately undermined by a joke about somebody’s disability. The budding love story with Mo is also sweet, but again sadly undermined by using his ability to do something on a superhuman level suggesting that the film makers believe the myth that when one sense is gone the rest are heightened, or they just didn’t care enough to check its validity.
Personally, speaking as a disabled person, I have never considered visiting a brothel, preferring to make emotional connections and getting to know people and thankfully Come as You Are does eventually show that there’s more than just brothels for disabled people who want sex and even love.
However, I feel that the film is only going to appeal to an able-bodied audience who has never interacted with a disabled person and will think that brothels are the only option and that it’s the same for everyone.
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