Come As You Are
This film hit home with me for many reasons. Creating a comedy based on or around people with disabilities is never going to be an easy road. I mean, take it from me. As Geekery’s resident writer and leg-mental, I too have ventured tentatively onto this, even for me, unknown path to tell my own stories, scared to come a cropper on the black ice of social sensibilities, general ignorance and societal over-pc-ness.
What Come As You Are does is brazenly give all of these barriers the big middle finger in an extremely entertaining, heart-warming and genuine way. Do not be under the illusion that this is The Hangover meets The Ringer (You know, that Johnny Knoxville steaming abomination? Yeah, that one). This still isn’t something to show your kids or your grandma though.
This is people with disabilities being funny (and often rude), not because they are disabled, but because they are actually funny, making light of their situations, often being self-deprecating. Something I believe is very human, normal and, frankly, necessary for those of us with physical challenges. Humour gets you through (I deprecate myself, often…. shut up). It is very refreshing to see a film that portrays this. ‘Genuine’ and ‘authentic’ sums Come As You Are up well. Throw ‘bloody hilarious’ in there too.
Richard Wong directs this English-speaking, American remake of the 2011 autobiographical Belgian film Hasta La Vista. I have not seen the original yet, so cannot comment on which is better. Nor can I confirm the remake’s faithfulness to the true story – a group of people with disabilities go on a road trip to brothel so they can lose their virginity.
This film’s strength is its story and humour. The timing is spot on, with the cast standout absolutely being Grant Rosenmeyer for his empathetic and heartfelt portrayal of the wise cracking and irreverent Scotty. I honestly thought this guy was genuinely confined to an electric wheelchair! And my radar for spotting fake wheelies is usually amazing. This is some My Left Foot level stuff!
However, I spotted Hayden Szeto’s troubled dark horse, Matt, as a ‘non-wheelie’ a mile off – his wheelchair is a tank no self-respecting leg-mental would be caught dead in, and he moves like a duck on a frozen lake in it. That aside, the casting was spot on, with Matt’s twist being gut-wrenching. His crap wheelchair and awkwardness behind the wheels does make sense in the end. So this was an obvious story-telling decision. Rosenmeyer, Szeto and Ravi Patel all deserve credit for their commitment to their characters and their authenticity.
My only real criticism would be that the love connection between Mo (Ravi Patel) and Sam (Gibourey Sidibe) is somewhat predictable. It is adorable and funny to watch though, and both characters are played well.
All in all, a very enjoyable film that will make you laugh and cry in good measure. An entertaining glimpse into just some of the lives of people living with disabilities. A hilarious, empathetic and genuine portrayal by the cast. I mean, none of the main actors have disabilities! And they do a great job of bringing their characters to life. This doesn’t happen often, or with such humility. I’m genuinely surprised. I would have given it a standing ovation, but, you know… lazy.
Rating: R16 Restricted to persons 16 years and over. Sexual content and offensive language.
GEEKERY rating: 4/5