The rare American remake that actually improves on the original, “Come as You Are” handily defies preconceived notions at every fresh turn. The touching road comedy is based on the 2011 Belgian import “Hasta la Vista,” a fact-based film about a trio of virgin adult males with disabilities who make a pilgrimage to a brothel.
Desperate to find some time away from the best intentions of his overbearing mom (Janeane Garofalo), Scotty (Grant Rosenmeyer), an abrasive, perpetually horny 24-year-old quadriplegic, discovers an enticing escape route in the form of Le Chateau Paradis, which specializes in providing sexual services to those with special needs.
The only catch is figuring out how he and his buddies — the blind Mo (Ravi Patel) and Matt aka Biceps (Hayden Szeto), a jock who suffers from a degenerative disease that has put him in a wheelchair — are going to get from Colorado across the border to the bordello’s Montreal location.
Enter Sam (Gabourey Sidibe), a van-driving nurse not without her own baggage, who’s entrusted with ensuring the bumpy ride ultimately reaches the appointed destination.
Armed with an engaging, genuinely diverse ensemble (although the three leads are all non-disabled) and a terrific script by Erik Linthorst, director Richard Wong sensitively navigates this “journey of outsiders and underdogs” while adeptly sidestepping the overtly sentimental trappings that occasionally snagged the original.
At once frank, tender and unapologetically funny, “Come as You Are” is a sweet surprise.
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Playing: Starts Feb. 14, Laemmle Glendale; also on VOD