Title: The Fundamentals of Caring
MPAA: Rated R for language
Director: Rob Burnett
Starring: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez
Synopsis: A writer retires after a personal tragedy and becomes a disabled teen’s caregiver. When the two embark on an impromptu road trip, their ability to cope is tested as they start to understand the importance of hope and friendship.
Review: The Fundamentals of Caring is the new, original film that you can currently find streaming on Netflix. The Netflix original films have never excited me, and they typically star Adam Sandler. So, that is never a good thing, especially these days. However, this film is a lot different and was a pleasant surprise. The Fundamentals of Caring offers a great dynamic of comedy and drama, and never leans too much on the drama. Rob Burnett was the director of this film, who also wrote the screenplay adopted by the novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. Burnett really understood how not to rely too much on the depressing factors of the film. He never force-fed any of the negatives about the characters right away. Just when you thought something bad was going to happen, something else happened instead that was not what you expected, but wasn’t heart-wrenching. This film had a nice flow to it, that never dragged and remained light and heartfelt throughout.
The characters in this film are all great. Our protagonist is Ben, played by Paul Rudd, and we find him at a dark and depressing place in his life in the beginning of the movie. He decides to become a caregiver and starts to care for a young, disabled boy named Trevor, played wonderfully by Craig Roberts. The two bond, and eventually decide to go on a road trip together to the world’s largest pit. This is when the movie really picks up, and is a non-stop delight till the very end. This might be my favorite Paul Rudd performance. Rudd is known for his great comedic roles. In this film, we get the signature Rudd deadpan comedy, but also some great dramatic acting as well. Rudd really makes you feel for his character, and shows emotion, but understands how to hold back at times and never “over acts.” Craig Roberts was the stand out though. His character had muscular dystrophy, and it was really believable, but he still gave his character a lot of humanity. What I mean by that is, at times you forgot that he was disabled, and you looked at his character as just a normal person, with normal issues. This goes to the acting as well as the writing. Selena Gomez was also very good, and she proved she can not only sing but act as well. Along with the acting, I was really impressed with the screenplay, but that leads me to my minor flaws.
Even though the screenplay was great, it did however lack in originality. The situations these characters are going through have been done countless times by other characters in movies. I never felt like I was watching anything brand new that blew me away. There was also one scene involving Trevor’s father in the film that felt very strange, and the actor was awful who portrayed his father. Other than that though, The Fundamentals of Caring was a solid movie. If you take it for what it is, an independent dramedy, then you should find it very delightful.
I think this is a film that should be viewed by everyone who has Netflix. First of all it’s free and only 97 minutes, but also because it is very well made and written. As a viewer, I really felt like I was going a long for the ride with the characters. This is a great road trip movie, and as someone who loves road trip movies, this has to be one of my favorites that I have seen. Road trip movies are great because, the characters can feel free to act however they want, and there are never any rules or guidelines to follow. Road trip movies always lead to unpredictable situations, and in this film, we get plenty of those. As I said before, the writing was very good. There was some very clever humor throughout, including some surprising dark humor. The chemistry between Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts’s characters were fantastic. This movie really leaves you feeling good by the end of the movie, and it’s very uplifting and inspiring. I implore anyone to check this one out. It is one of my favorites I’ve seen all year. My grade for this film is: