The humor comes from real life in Come As You Are

A- Comedy road movie
Written by Erik Linthorst
Directed by Richard Wong

Three youngish, disabled men take a road trip to lose their virginity. Why a road trip? They discovered the existence of a brothel in Montreal that caters to men with disabilities. They also need to get away from their over-protective parents.

This is essentially a road comedy, but a realistic one. The humor comes out of the characters’ relationships to each other and to their caregiver/driver.

Screenwriter Erik Linthorst based this American movie on the 2011 Belgian film, Hasta la Vista, which was inspired by actual events. So, it’s kind of a true story, except that it’s set on a whole different continent, and the characters are, I assume, very different. Director Richard Wong also made the Bay Area indie movie, Colma: The Musical.

Scotty (Grant Rosenmeyer), the most disabled of the three, is the one who comes up with the idea. Bound to a motorized wheelchair since birth, he can only use one hand – barely. Not surprisingly, he has a very deep chip on his shoulder.

I had a hard time believing that Matt (Hayden Szeto) is still a virgin. He’s also stuck in a wheelchair, but from the waist up he has the body of an athlete topped with a handsome face. When we first meet him, he has a girlfriend. An attractive, young woman hits on him.

Ravi Patel plays Mo. Unlike Scotty and Matt, he can walk, but he’s extremely visually impaired. He’s much older than the others – in his 30s rather than his 20s – and more mature.

These actors are fully abled – something of a moral flaw in the casting. Disabled actors have hard times getting good roles. On the other hand, the casting is racially diverse. Rosenmeyer is white, Szeto Asian, and Patel South Asian. Racial issues never come up.

There’s a fourth member on the trip, their caregiver/driver Sam (Gabourey Sidibe). She’s black, but it’s her gender that makes the other three uncomfortable. How can they tell her their destination? As a former nurse trying to earn back her credentials, she finds herself in a dilemma caused by the men who hired her.

Scotty’s mother and Matt’s parents go ballistic when they discover that their “children” have disappeared, and search for their kids. The film’s plot seems to suggest that the parents have the power to stop the trip, which seems unlikely considering that Scotty, Matt, and Mo are adults with full mental facilities.

There’s a tragic element that comes late in the movie and doesn’t really fit the rest of the picture. I assume it’s there because it’s in the original film and in the true story. It wasn’t needed.

There’s a serious side to the comedy, and yet the film is very funny.

Come as You Are opens in theaters Friday, but I’m not sure when it will open in Bay Area theaters. However, it will also become available that day on video on demand.

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