The comedy drama The Fundamentals of Caring from director Rob Burnett, is a buddy road trip all in one, with an excellent pairing of Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts. There is a lot of heart in this film, which premiered on Netflix last month, and also some decent laughs
The film follows grieving Ben (Rudd) who gets a job as a caregiver, something he has never done before, and his charge is Trevor (Roberts) who is suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which confines him to a wheelchair, and requires someone to help him wipe his ass. The two of them embark on a road trip, so Trevor can see a number of idiotic landmarks Trevor has marked on a map, from the biggest pit to the biggest bovine in America.
Rudd is on top form as Ben. His sarcastic delivery works well in this film, as well as his usual charm. Roberts usual deadpan, slightly annoying characteristics are actually quite charming in this film, as he easily mocks his own illness and quips with Rudd effortlessly. I could have easily watched more scenes with just the two of them. Both of their characters have a fairly miserable outlook on life – with reason – which makes them a nearly perfect team, and Rudd and Roberts clearly have some great chemistry.
Joining them is Jennifer Ehle as Elsa, Trevor’s mother who worries about her son intensely, but carries with her a good sense of humour that helps cope with the situation, as well as being able to keep up with Trevor’s wit. When she departs the picture, Selena Gomez as Dot steps in. A runaway who smokes and swears like a trucker, she also has a certain charm that balances out the other two, but often feels like a third wheel.
The film has a recurring theme of fatherhood. Trevor’s left him when he was diagnosed with his DMD at aged three, Ben is suffering a loss as a father, and Dot has her own issues with her dad (Bobby Cannavale). Some of these issues are solved throughout the film, but the film works best when staying as a buddy comedy, rather than when the characters are seeking an emotional redemption.
The Fundamentals of Caring is worth a look on Netflix, the stars Rudd and Roberts really shine in this film. The comedy stays to the character, and it would be interesting to see another pairing of these two.