March 6, 2021 – I have recently been watching a lot of 2020 movies touted as being among the year's best. This one of the few of those that lives up to its billing.
After so many depressing movies, I was looking for a good comedy. I picked this one out of Rottentomatoes' list of the years best comedies, and it sure is a winner. Based on the 2011 Belgian film, “Hasta La Vista,” this movie about three young handicapped men on a clandestine road trip looking for love is funny, heartwarming and emotive.
The three young men in their 20s, Scotty (played by Grant Rosenmeyer) Matt (Hayden Szeto) and Mo (Ravi Patel of “Transformers”) all know each other from a physical therapy center, where Mo works. Scotty is a quadriplegic, Matt is wheelchair bound and Mo is legally blind.
Scotty has never had sex, but gets the idea for a road trip to fix that when he gets a tip from a fellow paraplegic. The tip concerns a distant brothel which caters to people with special needs, like himself.
Scotty talks Matt into going on the long road trip, while Matt talks Mo into going. Neither Scotty or Matt can get away from their overprotective parents, so they have to hide all their elaborate preparations for the trip, and sneak out.
Among the preparations for the trip is hiring a driver and a van that can load and carry the wheelchair-bound passengers. The men are taken aback when they see that the driver, Sam, who they assumed would be a man, is a woman (Gabourey Sidibe of “Precious”).
Scotty, who is very assertive, loud and obnoxious, finds out very quickly that Sam will not put up with any of his guff. The road trip, and it is a very long one, includes a number of misadventures, including a wild getaway from a motel when Matt and Scotty's parents track them down.
Along the way, Scotty and Matt get into some heated arguments, mostly because of Scotty's assertions that his condition is worse than that of the others. Mo, who sits in front with Sam becomes her friend and develops genuine affection for her.
Eventually, Scotty and Matt's parents catch up with the runaways, and there is a big confrontation, one of several on the trip, and after it. A truce is finally worked out between parents and sons, as well as between Scotty and Matt. Not everyone is happy with it, but the compromise does work.
The story is bittersweet, but emotionally satisfying. The story reminds me of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994) but of those two, I like this one better. It strains credibility at times, but overall, it works. The characters are very believable and well played by the actors. The emotional arc of the story is powerful, and well paced.
Much of the credit for this film goes to Richard Wong, who not only directed this film, but also edited it and was the cinematographer as well.
Besides Gabourey Sidibe and Ravi Patel, the best known actor in the cast is Janeane Garofalo, who plays Liz, Scotty's mother. It has been 20 years since I have seen her in a movie, and I did not recognize her, just as I failed to recognize Debra Winger in “Kajillionaire” this year. I am getting old, and so are they. But we are still here, so far.
This is one of my favorite films of 2020. It rates a B+.
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