The Fundamentals of Caring (2016) directed by Rob Burnett, is a fun, light-hearted watch with just enough sentimental capabilities to make it more of a complex and inspirational film than just your typical comedy-drama. Without giving too much away, let me break it down.
Starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez, the film centres around a disabled teen with an intense fear of pushing on with his life further than his boundaries and his caregiver who carries with him emotional turmoil from the loss he has faced in his life. An impromptu road trip across country inspires a willingness to let go of their burdens and live their life to the fullest; each learning their way in the world and that there is more to caring than what you learn in a caregiver/patient relationship.
Rudd plays the role of Ben, a man who has had the world fall on him – and after his failed writing career, divorce and loss, decides to take a caregiving course to deal with his grief and redeem himself from his misfortunes. He lands his first caregiving job with 18 year old Trevor – played by Craig Roberts; who has muscular dystrophy and accepted his fate of a shortened life, using his ironic and sarcastic sense of humour to blanket his dire situation.
Trevor’s care routine begins as very strict and repetitive, though through Trevor’s satiric humour, he pleads that it is his dream to visit the worlds biggest pit. By wanting to make Trevor accomplish his dream in his short life and wanting to escape his situation (refusal of signing divorce papers), Ben loads Trevor into the car and forces them both out of the norm.
Along the way, they meet foul-mouthed Dot, played by Selena Gomez), a teenage runaway who shares the same dry sense of humour as Trevor. The three get along and learn new things about each other, sharing experiences that they hadn’t yet encountered.
The film is great at taking a blithe approach at disability, divorce and struggles adapting. The humour embedded throughout makes these thing feel a little more close to home (although I have not experienced disability or divorce) and makes it a little more understandable and less awkward. There is normally a stigma involved with talking about these sorts of things but the outlook that the characters had on their situations was refreshing – after all, there is always comfortability in humour and irony.
The downfall of this film was the cliches that were unfortunately in abundance towards the end of the movie and within some of the characters. Dot was a typical teenage runaway with bad habits, but a sweet side that could be brought out with a little bit of unity. There of course are the standard dramas that happen through a road-trip movie with troubled teenagers, and just like the standard drama comes the standard solution when everyone’s issues are fixed at the end, everyone loves everyone, and the writer, inspired, gets his groove back.
In saying that, the movie was quite enjoyable and I really loved the humour and touching side. There was a lovely relationship formed between all characters, particularly between Ben and Trevor. If you are looking for a fell-good movie on Netflix (the saviour), give this one a watch!