Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Netflix Instant Movie Review: The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016) - Written and Directed by Rob Burnett; Starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, Bobby Cannavale.

By Kenny Howell

Netflix continues to build its original film content with The Fundamentals of Caring, which they purchased at Sundance.

It has all the festival movie tropes you can ask for, a troubled writer, overcoming a tragedy, a road trip, a cute girl that fixes things, a character with a disability. And of course, they need to find themselves.

This could have been hindrance, and in a minor way it is, but the cast and a pretty witty script helps it rise above.

Paul Rudd is that troubled writer, Ben, and that is the first right move the movie makes. He is playing slightly against type, at least for the first half of the film, but Rudd can do most things, so it's not a problem. He is going through a divorce, most likely brought on by the stress of his child passing away after a tragic accident. He has decided to be a caregiver, and when we first meet him he is at the tail end of getting certified to do the job.

He applies for the job to take care of Trevor (Craig Roberts), a young man battling Muscular Dystrophy. Trevor is wheelchair bound and loves to push the buttons of his caregiver's for his own amusement. Luckily, he is a good match for Ben who doesn't fail to give it right back to him. Trevor takes a liking to Ben, and the two start a working relationship.

Ben decides that Trevor needs to get out of the house, which he spends almost all his life. He decides they need to go on a road trip to see sites that Trevor sees on TV daily. Not the Grand Canyon or anything like that, but the world's biggest pit. Trevor's mother is against the idea because Trevor needs so much attention, and has so many medications to take throughout the day. But Ben convinces her, redrawing the route so that they will be close to a hospital at all times, and they head out.

The road trip takes up most of the film, and it is meant as a way for the two to branch out and find themselves. Really all it does is allow the two stars to flash their great chemistry with each other. It's more entertaining to see them play off of each other instead of the journey they are on. But it is worthwhile, and Selena Gomez makes an appearance as a hitchhiker that serves as the cute girl that gives Trevor a new life experience. She has that charm as well, and The Fundamentals of Caring ends up being a fun time with a group of people, instead of an intriguing narrative. But whatever works I say.

The Fundamentals of Caring is currently playing on Netflix Instant.

Rating: ***1/2

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