Come As You Are
Film Title: Hasta La Vista
Director: Geoffrey Enthoven
Starring: Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Gilles De Schrijver, Tom Audenaert
Running Time: 115 min
Good-natured Jozef is almost completely blind and requires a magnifying glass for what little he can see. Comical contrarian Philip is a shouty paraplegic. And giggly wheelchair-bound Lars has a degenerative terminal tumour.
They are, for all these slanted abilities, a gang of lads who enjoy sneaking away from their understandably anxious parents and downing wine. What’s more, in common with their peers from American Pie and Porky’s, they really, really, really want to lose their virginity.
When Philip hears tell of a Malaga brothel that caters for peeps with special needs, he soon hatches a plan. But will their parents agree? And will the boys ever learn to love Claude (Isabelle de Hertogh), their nurse and travelling companion, whom Philip is quick to dismiss as a female mammoth?
Come As You Are began life on British TV as disabled rights activist Asta Philpot’s documentary account of bringing two friends to sunny Spain. The project’s transplantation to a Belgian setting means that some of the material (rants against non-Flemish speakers, anti-Dutch jokes) may get a little lost in translation.
Still, Come As You Are will work its magic on anyone who enjoyed last summer’s Intouchables. A rambunctious comedy that isn’t afraid of contentious issues or, indeed, of allowing its hero, Philip, to behave like a jerk, the film is never patronising.
Director Geoffrey Enthoven keeps the aesthetic and emotional palate natural. The film is crowd-pleasing and feel-good, with a hatful of audience awards to prove it. But there are no sweeping strings and no instances of cheesy artifice. The performances are excellent and the subject matter alone demands a larger release than the film is scheduled to receive here. See it: talk it up