Written By Kevin Bartram
The Fundamentals Of Caring is a Netflix Original Film released on June 24th, 2016. Written and directed by Rob Burnett, it’s a film about a writer named Ben (Paul Rudd) who suffers a heartbreaking loss and to escape that loss he becomes a caretaker. He is then paired up with an 18-year-old boy named Trevor (Craig Roberts) who suffers from muscular dystrophy and they end up developing a strong relationship with each other and go on a road trip to visit the world’s largest pit. It’s an interesting premise but something extremely weird exists in this movie, the writer either has a strange obsession with Slim Jim’s or the company that owns Slim Jim’s wanted their grubby little fingers all over this film. Just about every scene has the word Slim Jim used multiple times with Paul Rudd’s character constantly trying to get Craig Roberts to taste a Slim Jim. I don’t know why there’s so many but it seems a bit peculiar.
Now as far as cast’s go this film has everything going for it. When you can get Paul Rudd to be in your film you score a lot of points with audiences because there is not one person on this planet who doesn’t adore the presence of Paul Rudd. He is as likeable as you can get and for the most part gives out very strong performances throughout his career and this film is no different. Paul Rudd is that loveable goof in just about everything and America loves him for it, he really has a well-developed character in this film with baggage and all. He gives a performance that makes you extremely invested in his character and makes you love every moment he’s on screen.
The actor he co-stars with is the talented Craig Roberts, this was someone I was shockingly pleased with. He comes on strong in the beginning as such a demented asshole that you don’t know if you can get behind him. But as the film goes on you really start to believe that this person really needs this wheelchair and all of this machinery and medicine to live. He turns into someone who you simply love to watch when their on-screen, and the loveable humor between Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts is spot on with well-timed jokes and witty dialogue. There was quite a few times where I was laughing out loud throughout this film.
Trevor’s mother named Elsa (Jennifer Ehle) also did quite a good job at seeming extremely overprotective but understandably so. But that’s not to say that this film is anywhere near perfect. There is a big problem I have with this film and that’s Selena Gomez. Thankfully she doesn’t say as much as I was expecting her to say throughout the runtime of the movie based on her large appearance in the marketing and the poster for the film. But none the less she still has to show up and she gives a “Selena Gomez performance”. Her acting is fine on the Disney Channel but it doesn’t translate well to a film that is marketed towards adults. Her acting never feels real to me she always sounds as if she’s reciting lines she heard the director shout to her 15 seconds before he yelled ACTION! She comes off like such an armature compared to the likes of Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts. I never once believed she fit in with them as well as she was supposed to. She always seemed a bit out of the group even when the movie was trying to make you believe they are all goodie goodie.
The film is also pretty much a by the numbers road trip movie, not to say that’s really a bad thing but nonetheless you still gotta bring it up. It very much comes off in some areas as very samey or “Oh I’ve seen this before”. The saving grace of this film is wonderful chemistry between the two leads and the twist with Trevor being in a wheelchair therefore Ben has to bring him to the bathroom and place him on the toilet when he has to go and give him showers and such. It adds a bit of innovation to the whole road trip comedy and giving some great situations for both actors comedy chops to shine.
The score of the film was fine, but if anything leading to the repetitive side because I felt as if I was hearing the same slow methodical tune over and over until I could recite each note in my head and master it on my keyboard. But while yes there is negatives I found myself thoroughly enjoying the film and for the most part, I have minor complaints. Even though I do wish they could have cast a more eligible actor for the role of Dot instead of having Selena Gomez. I don’t necessarily feel she was particularly bad in the film, she just didn’t have the same level of quality when being compared to the rest of the cast.
But in the end this was a very solid film with an extremely large amount of Paul Rudd which is something the world could never really go wrong with. There is also one of the greatest scenes in cinema history sitting near the end of this film at about 10 minutes before the credits involving Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts and a camera that is rotating around the two of them and panning about as the two of them stand center stage and it makes for possibly the most uplifting scene in the entire the film and possibly in cinema history. This one scene makes watching the film totally worth it. Either way this film is most definitely a recommendation based on that one scene alone and it’s so memorable you’ll most definitely know it when you see it. This is a definite recommendation and it gets a pretty solid 8 out of 10. Paul Rudd’s likeability and Craig Roberts impressive performance make this movie more than your average road trip dramedy.
8 out of 10