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Review Round-Up: “Come As You Are” And “The Misogynists”

We return once again to the review round-up, ladies and gentlemen! As always, this comes when the week just had too many films to review, so we’re bringing the remaining ones together in one handy post. Today, we have a pair of movies hoping to grab your interest this weekend. They are, as tends to be the case, quite different from one another. We have the road trip comedy Comes As You Are, as well as the satirical comedy The Misogynists. One of the two is actually among the best titles of the year so far. The other? Well, not so much. Read on to find out more…

Come As You Are

There are a number of ways that Come As You Are could have gone very wrong. A road trip comedy, sprinkled in with dramatic elements, featuring a trio of disabled individuals hoping to lose their virginity? The potentially for something horribly misguided was palpable, here. Luckily, as much as this is the sort of premise that a 1980’s raunchy comedy could have gone to questionable lengths with (or worse, a post American Pie style mean spirited ripoff), this flick has much more in common with something like The Peanut Butter Falcon. It’s a well done crowd pleaser that actually ranks among the best movies of 2020 so far, believe it or not.

The film is, as mentioned above, a road trip comedy, or maybe more specifically a dramedy, since it does hit some fairly emotional beats. Quickly, we’re introduced to Scotty (Grant Rosenmeyer) and Mo (Ravi Patel), two disabled friends. The former doesn’t have the use of his limbs and is confined to a motorized wheelchair, while the latter is legally blind. When a new guy named Matt (Hayden Szeto) comes to the clinic that Scotty gets treatment at and Mo works at, there’s initially tension, since Matt seems “cool” and is only in a wheelchair after an accident. Then, an opportunity arises. Scotty finds out about a brothel in Canada that caters to people with disabilities. Recruiting Matt and Mo, the three virgins set off on a road trip to get deflowered. Long under the thumb of their families, they escape across the border with a traveling nurse named Sam (Gabourey Sidibe), on a question for not just sex, but independence. Richard Wong directs a screenplay by Erik Linthorst (Wong also handles the cinematography), with music by Jeremy Turner. Supporting players include Janeane Garofalo, Jennifer Jelsema, C.S. Lee, and more.

What makes this so enjoyable is the chemistry between the three leads. Grant Rosenmeyer, Ravi Patel, and Hayden Szeto are fun, likable, and three dimensional characters. Rosenmeyer mixes his over-sexed and sometimes abrasive nature with an earnest desire to be more than his disability, seen through the tensions with his mother, but also his rapping. Patel is an intuitive and kind soul, the moral arc of the trio. Szeto has the charisma, helping them talk their way out of some of the trouble they get in. Together, they’re quite the group. Gabourey Sidibe turns in some nice work, too, not just with pointed comedic timing, but also presenting Sam as a love interest for Mo in the third act.

Come As You Are needed a deft touch, and both Linthorst and Wong have it. They’re never laughing at their characters, only with them. Occasionally, the move towards drama from comedy is a little jarring, and some of the points being made are on the nose, but it’s undeniable that this movie wants to make you laugh, smile, and celebrate life. In that realm, it’s an unqualified success.

It’s a real shame that I didn’t get to this one sooner, since Come As You Are deserves to find an audience. This sort of title could end up becoming a real audience favorite and crowd pleaser. If you see it playing anywhere near you, seek it out. You’ll be glad that you did. Supremely enjoyable, this is one of 2020’s best so far!

The Misogynists

Detailing the night of the Presidential Election in 2016 allows for a filmmaker to explore a whole host of angles. Here, with The Misogynists, filmmaker Onur Tukel wants to tackle toxic masculinity. That’s a great set up for a potentially pointed work. Unfortunately, Tukel has very little to say, instead just presenting off-putting people for a little over 80 minutes, repeating the same cliches and setting up the same debates over and over again. Within minutes, it’s easy to see where this one is going, and try as you might, there’s no way to stop it. This was a poorly paced and bland experience, yearning to be edgy while not especially having an edge at all.

This movie is a satirical comedy, at least in theory. Taking place almost exclusively in a hotel room on the night Donald Trump was elected President, we meet Cameron (Dylan Baker) and his employee/friend Baxter (Lou Jay Taylor). They’re celebrating Trump’s election in Cameron’s room, where he’s been living since separating from his wife. Baxter repeatedly takes calls from his devastated wife Alice (Christine M. Campbell), who had her heart set on a different outcome. Throughout the night, Cameron rails about how men are superior to women, how Trump’s obnoxiousness is a selling point, and how weak Baxter is. Periodically, someone else will arrive, either a drug deal, co-worker, or employee at the hotel, and he’ll debate them. Later, we meet two sex workers (Trieste Kelly Dunn and Ivana Milicevic) who are headed to his room. It just goes on and on like that, never really making a point, though at least the time spent with the girls gets us out of the room. Tukel writes and directs, while Zoe White provides the cinematography.

Dylan Baker admittedly does good work here, but there’s so little to his character that things become repetitive and tiresome in short order. Onur Tukel telegraphs every supposedly shocking turn that happens here, stranding Baker and leaving him with very little to do. His direction is bland, while his writing is on the nose. The sequence centering on Trieste Kelly Dunn and Ivana Milicevic is better written, at least until they get into a cab and have a xenophobic conversation with the cab driver. From there, it all devolves. Worse, the film doesn’t even end, it just stops.

The Misogynists his so frustrating because of its potential. Letting a toxic male, especially one played by Dylan Baker, loose in the beginnings of Trump’s America has a number of interesting cinematic avenues. None are taken here, however, instead settling for something that would struggle to be an Off-Broadway play. Baker is very good, but he doesn’t even come close to saving this one from mediocrity.

Both films are in theaters now!

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About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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