An extra star added purely for faultless acting, to an overall average indie summer film.
Following the controversy surrounding the representation of the disabled community in Me Before You, The Fundamentals of Caring supplies a refreshing and lighthearted take on #LiveBoldly, embarking on a not so bold but rather endearing road trip across America in the company of the wonderful Craig Roberts and Paul Rudd. What is there to complain about?
Trevor (Craig Roberts) has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, a disease that will kill him within the next 10/15 years, while carer Ben (Paul Rudd) is suffering from the pain of losing his wife and his son. The two travel across America, away from the monotonous everyday life Trevor has been living, to go and see the world’s deepest pit. Acting as a cathartic and redemptive medicine for Ben and valuable life experience for Trevor, they visit many a cliché on their travels, as well as picking up hitchhikers Dot (Selena Gomez) and Peaches (Megan Ferguson). Things happen, complications arise, but the ending is a happy one, which is always appreciated.
I wanted so much to like this movie, but it was just a little too bland to swallow with satisfaction. This film would have certainly struggled without the humour and charm provided by the two protagonists; they held up the average plot and script and created notable scenes from slim pickings. Roberts seemed to be playing a parody of himself and his other notable roles, such as a slightly less risqué and raunchy Adam from Being Human, and Rudd was as heartbreaking as he was charming. Their relationship and camaraderie is the highlight of the film, but Gomez holds her own against the two more experienced actors (Tracy Beaker happened 11 years ago now for Roberts, who is now 25). With a much-appreciated appearance of Bobby Cannavale and strong performances all round, you can’t really complain, but I only wish that it had amounted to more.
Cliché is not a shameful word to throw around in a review; clichés are healthy outlets in films that are valuable to the progress of the narrative, and there is certainly no escaping the word here. It was refreshing that one of the biggest clichés that had fallen right into their laps was avoided, and the world’s deepest pit was actually spectacular, and the rest of the American landscape was exploited to great and unequivocal fruition throughout the film.
Trevor was right to admit that he actually didn’t ironically like the pit because it was lame, but instead because it was pretty cool. So, I will not beat around the bush either. This film was entertaining and humorous in parts and is worth the one watch, but I won’t like it ironically.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), directed by Rob Burnett, is available on Netflix now.