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  Come As You Are Distance No ObjectBuy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Geoffrey Enthoven
Stars: Gilles De Schrijver, Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Tom Audenaert, Isabelle de Hertogh, Karel Vingerhoets, Katelijne Verbeke, Karlijn Sileghem, Johan Heldenbergh, Marilou Mermans, Ivan Pecnik, Itziar Luengo, Tuur De Weert, Xandra Van Welden, Chantal Purvi
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: If there's one thing these three friends can get out of life, it's their pleasure in wine, as today when they are at a tasting where the senses of taste and scent are used for their entertainment. Unfortunately that's about all they get pleasure out of, since they are afflicted with various disabilities: Lars (Gilles De Schrijver) has a brain tumour which has left him unable to walk, Philip (Robrecht Vanden Thoren) suffers a paralysis from the neck down, and Jozef (Tom Audenaert) is pretty much blind. Circumstances have brought them together, but one thing they also share is an appreciation of the opposite sex, which has never been reciprocated thanks to their handicaps...

So what better thing to do than a road trip to a Spanish brothel which one of them has it on good authority serves the needs of the disabled, and is packed with beautiful women who will assist them in losing the heavy burden of their virginities? Come As You Are, or Hasta La Vista as it was originally known in its native Belgium, was sort of a variation on the old John Cusack movie The Sure Thing, except that there were three main characters instead of just the one aiming for the certainty that they would get laid at the end of their trip. And the problems Cusack faced were not exactly the same as our Three Musketeers in this case.

The subject of sexuality in the disabled was not one often considered by the movies, but there was The Sessions for America, and this for Europe, both of which took unusual premises and wound up rather more conventional than might have been anticipated, though this one had the advantage that with these decidedly non-clich├ęd characters you were not wholly sure of where they would end up, or even if they would succeed in their goal. Their plans are laden with problems, no matter how independent they would like to be as this dream holiday means more than simply striking out on their own, they have to acknowledge they cannot do everything they would wish to by themselves.

For a start, there's the families and what they would say if the people who had looked after them their whole lives knew they were off to get a shag, not seemingly the most noble of aims and not one the trio are willing to admit to them, preferring to be circumspect about why precisely they want to take this journey through France then onto Spain just so. It seems they will be scuppered almost immediately when the carer they were hoping would drive them there cannot make it after all, but they're in luck when he offers them a replacement called Claude who sounds capable enough and has his own van for them to travel in. All they have to do is sneak out of their respective homes and get to their rendez-vous.

That they do, but then there is a fresh complication when Claude is not a Belgian man, but a French woman (Isabelle de Hertogh), which makes things more tricky, as after all the three men cannot tell her the real reason for their vacation, and indeed Philip, the most abrasive one, really shows he has to get to grips with his piggish attitude towards women as the overweight, fortysomething Claude is nothing he finds attractive and he isn't shy about complaining about her in the belief she cannot understand Flemish. This nasty behaviour rubs off on the more innocent Lars, and it's interesting director Geoffrey Enthoven opted not to make those two entirely sympathetic, possibly to lend an edginess to the film, possibly to have us work that bit harder to perceive their frustrations in a world that appears uncomfortable or even embarrassed to treat them as individuals and not drawbacks in the community. Nevertheless, there will be those pleased when Philip's big mouth sets up his regular comeuppances, preferring the more sweetnatured Jozef, though they each deserve our attention in a well rounded effort.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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