The 2011 Belgian comedy “Hasta la Vista” earns a chuckle-out-loud remake with “Come as You Are,” a tale of two wheelchair-bound guys and their blind pal road tripping from Colorado to Canada.
They’re disabled and they’re virgins and you guessed it — or read the headline — it’s a “Sex Trip” to a “Sure Thing” in Montreal, a bordello that caters to those with physical impairments.
We’re treated to testy, disabled-savvy wisecracks, little whiffs of drama, a dollop of romance, pathos, slapstick and a “Dirty Sanchez” fueled bar fight. Yeah, that’s a bucket-list of adventure, and we’d expect no less from a road comedy that works.
Scotty (Grant Rosenmeyer of “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) has been quadriplegic since childhood. His talkaholic long-suffering mother (Janeane Garofalo, outstanding) just prattles past his morning erection and endures the occasional profane complaints from her “Bug” as she copes with every humiliating thing he can’t do for himself.
He’s an angry punk with a hair-trigger temper, which he flashes at the new guy, Matt (Hayden Szeto of “The Edge of Seventeen”). Scotty is too quick to teach “Biceps” as he calls him “the pecking order,” and his choice of ride.
“That’s a grandma chair, by the way.”
Mo, played by Ravi Patel (of “Master of None”) is practically the only guy at the rehab clinic who will put up with Scotty’s abuse. Mo’s just blind enough to have no clue who he’s complimenting on the bus for having “lovely hair.” He’s talking to Thor, or his twin brother, BTW.
Scotty raps, the cleverest “Hollywood” improvement on the original film this is based on.
“Half-man, half machine, girl you don’t need to be quick. Come and get you some of this quadriplegic!”
It’s when he gets a business card from a stranger also living the wheelchair life that Scott has to tamp down his inner-and-outer jerk. There’s this brothel, Le Chateau Paradis, in Montreal. It’ll cure what ails him.
But to get there, Scotty’s going to need friends — accomplices. Cozy up to Matt, arm-twist Mo. Beg if you need to.
Hire a nurse-driver with a van, and keep it “totally black ops.” As Mo puts it, “I’m 35 years old and I’ve never been anywhere without my Mom.” They won’t tell their smothering parent caregivers what they’re up to.
Cinematographer turned director Richard Wong (“Yes, We’re Open”) and screenwriter Erik Linthorst (the stoner comedy “High School” was his) take care to let us see the machinations Scotty the Quad must go through to pack and prep and just get out the door without getting caught.
A funny touch? Matt’s tweenage sister (Martha Kuwahara) is enlisted to round up their “supplies” for the quest — at the um, drugstore.
Casting is what makes all this come off, as Rosenmeyer’s caustic Scotty is balanced with the soulful, timid Mo that Patel gives us and the “good son” rebellion Szeto has to play. Throw in “Precious” Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe as the take-no-crap driver-nurse and it’s game-on.
There’s a lot that can happen between Littleton, Colorado and Montreal, but “Come as You Are” isn’t overstuffed with incidents. Most of the standard-issue road-trip comedy scenes dreamed up here have decent comic payoffs.
Sidibe is alternately brassy and charming, Patel brings hidden sensitivity to Mo, Szeto has a moment or two and Garofalo makes her character’s depth a surprise payoff here.
Building the picture around Rosenmeyer scores with the scripted white-guy-who-types-with-his-teeth rapping scenes. Those raps give vent to the frustrations and inner resources of the disabled, and do it with comic panache.
“I’m sittin’ here stuck in cement, like Christopher Reeve long after Clark Kent!”
Yeah, it’s on-the-nose and plenty of the laughs are low-hanging fruit. But for guys with limited reach, this crew makes those easy laughs come easily, and unlike the film’s title, no pun intended.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, profanity, sexual situations
Cast: Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel, Gabourey Sidibe, Janeane Garofalo , Jennifer Jelsema and C.S. Lee.
Credits: Directed by Richard Wong, script by Erik Linthorst. A Samuel L. Goldwyn release.
Running time: 1:47