Come As You Are, directed by Richard Wong, is an American comedy that concerns a bunch of disabled Americans who set out for a specialist brothel across the border between the United States and Canada. Playing a sex worker who services disabled clients in The Sessions even helped Helen Hunt to get an Oscar nomination. So, it seems that Come As You Are is really worth watching.
The decision to cast able-bodied actors in the three main roles is more controversial. Hayden Szeto plays Matt, a wheelchair-user smothered by too-careful parents; Ravi Patel is a dry-humoured blind guy named Mo; and Grant Rosenmeyer is Scotty, a quadriplegic with hip-hop ambitions.
Adapted from a Belgian film of 2011, what Come as You Are works so well is largely down to the smooth, quasi-improvised interplay between actors who bounce off each other like the members of a long-established troupe.
Scotty always makes the most inappropriate remark. Mo is the rooted hub. Matt works tragedy in with his comic reserve. Gabourey Sidibe adds in delightful kickback as the health worker tricked into being their driver.
The comedy is successful in doing risk a few gags that play off the characters’ disabilities. Although none of those jokes sinks to the level of Pryor and Wilder in See No Evil, Hear No Evil, a late confusion involving Matt does gesture bravely towards the blind flower girl in Chaplin’s City Lights.
The film is entirely uninterested in the ethics of sex work and bashful about copulation. It ends in a showpiece nudging us towards inspirational uplift. However, the actors have such fun that one may hope to see them reunited for a future project.
To conclude, though the title is still unforgivable, it is about 200 per cent better than it reads on paper.