Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista!) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/06/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Highly entertaining Belgian comedy/road movie with a funny script, sharply observed characters, an important central message and a trio of terrific performances from Gilles De Schrijver, Robrecht Vanden Thoren and Tom Audenaert.

What's it all about?
Directed by Geoffrey Enthoven, Belgian comedy Come As You Are (also known as Hasta La Vista) is inspired by the true story of British arthrogryposis sufferer Asta Philpot, whose own attempt to lose his virginity in a Spanish brothel was the subject of 2007 BBC documentary For One Night Only. The film centres on three disabled friends – paraplegic Philip (Robrecht Vanden Thoren), blind Jozef (Tom Audenaert) and Lars (Gilles De Schrijver), who's wheelchair-bound due to a terminal illness – who hear of a brothel in Spain that specialises in catering to disabled people and decide to take a road trip in order to lose their virginity.

Claiming that the trip will be for wine-tasting and sightseeing, the three men are overjoyed when their parents all agree to let them go on the trip, but disaster strikes when Lars' illness takes a turn for the worse and the doctors pronounce him too ill to travel. Their parents cancel the trip, but the men decide to go on the trip anyway, sneaking off in the middle of the night and hiring overweight carer Claude (Isabelle De Hertogh), sight unseen, to drive their bus and look after them.

The Good
The three male leads are excellent, creating sharply observed, well rounded characters and sparking believable chemistry together, not least because they frequently bicker and are occasionally horrible to each other. Isabelle De Hertogh is equally good as Claude and her developing relationship with the three men is nicely handled throughout, while Kimka Dezart has a couple of brief but heart-breakingly adorable scenes as Lars' younger sister, Yoni.

The script is frequently laugh-out funny, with several great running gags and the majority of the humour stemming from the characters themselves, rather than contrived comedy set-pieces; Audenaert, in particular, is hilarious in almost every scene, despite being the quietest of the three. On top of that, the film delivers an important message about disabled rights without ever resorting to preachiness or sugary sentimentality.

The Bad
That's not to say that the film is entirely without flaws; for one thing, it's a little too predictable, with all the various story twists being telegraphed early on, so you spend the film waiting for them rather than being pleasantly surprised. In addition, for a film that's happy to use coarse language and close-to-the-bone humour in its language, it's surprisingly coy when it comes to its actual depictions of sex, which slightly weakens the film's central message, as does a brief but nonetheless distracting fantasy shot showing the two wheelchair-bound actors walking normally.

Worth seeing?
Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista) is an enjoyable and emotionally engaging Belgian comedy enlivened by strong comic performances from all three leads. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista!) (15)
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Content updated: 17/12/2017 11:58

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