A charmer. So this is about a man who is trying to get his life together (Paul Rudd). He takes a class about care-giving and is soon paired with a difficult young man that is confined to a wheelchair (Craig Roberts). If you like your movies indie, then this one is for you. There are plenty of movies of this ilk that don’t work, like Paper Towns or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but when the inspiration is there, you can get something that is feel good to the maximum, like Little Miss Sunshine, The Way Way Back or Juno. The Fundamentals of Caring is much closer to the latter than it is the former, so go ahead and fire up the Netflix streaming.
It’s the kind of movie that you can make a blanket recommendation to pretty much everyone.
Now this is an exception to the rule for me, because I don’t typically go for road trip movies. I knew nothing about this before I sat down to watch it, only that it had an intriguing title and that it stars the charismatic Paul Rudd (if there’s an actor who could legitimately get away with murder, it’s probably him, he’s SO affable all of the time). When they piled into the van to hit the road, my sensors went up… and right back down again, because I was already in it. It may take a few minutes, but you ultimately do end up forming a connection with both of these characters. You think that the character of Trevor (Craig Roberts) would have Aspergers due to the way that his mother introduces him and builds him up, but he doesn’t, it’s just a case of a mom who cares too much. Both of them are problem avoiders that hope their issues will disappear into nothingness if they give it enough time, which is a relatable trait to most on a base level.
Even Selena Gomez is pretty good in a supporting role.
The joy really is in the journey for this, and I liked every stop they make on the way. There is growth on both sides, so you feel like you really get to see that true character development that is all too rare in stories nowadays. The jokes almost always find their mark, but there are also moments of emotional weight that do hit you in all the right spots as well. I was won over by this very early on, and I think that you will be too.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire