Sweet Nothings: Our Review of ‘The Fundamentals of Caring’

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - June 26, 2016
Sweet Nothings: Our Review of ‘The Fundamentals of Caring’

It might feel like a familiar story, but The Fundamentals of Caring seems well aware, telling its inspirational-unlikely relationship-buddy-road trip movie with heart though not cunning.

Paul Rudd is Ben, a newly-certified caretaker with yet unknown motives and a new client in the rebellious Trevor (Craig Robert), a somewhat petulant teen with muscular dystrophy. They go through the motions pretty quickly (there are lots of jokes about Trevor’s need of assistance when using the bathroom), and we learn Trevor’s life is all about routine. A montage moves us along, but before you know it, an expletive-laden fight between the two about living life and savouring the moment and all that leads them to decide to take a road trip despite the protestations of Trevor’s mother (Jennifer Ehle).

Ben insists Trevor gets out in the world and sees what he wants and what he can before it’s too late; he doesn’t exactly have a long life expectancy.

Along the way they meet a couple wayward youths in Selena Gomez’ runaway Dot and Megan Ferguson as an optimistic pregnant woman. Both are meant to help Ben and Trevor learn a thing or two about themselves, just as Trevor and Ben teach each other plenty. In fact, the entirely of this film, well-acted and well-made, is about overcoming fears and growing and enjoying life and celebrating what we have and all that lovely goodness. With a few off-colour jokes thrown in for good measure.

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And that’s all wonderful. Paul Rudd is the perfect actor with whom to take that easy journey. It’s a fairly predictable film – Trevor has a penchant for pretending he’s choking – but Rob Burnett, as writer and director, carries an optimistic and sweet tone throughout. There isn’t a cynical moment in the film, and it mostly stays away from emotional manipulation even while the characters feel stereotypical.

In the end, Caring has a lot to say about father-child relationships, and a finale doesn’t exactly go where you think it does while staying true to itself. Alas though, the promise of a pop star entertaining Trevor doesn’t hold up. That’s life I suppose.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.