Not sure if my mild crush on actor Paul Rudd has anything to do with it – but I absolutely loved the 2016 film ‘The Fundamentals of Caring’.
The film would always throw up on my Netflix suggestions and would remind me of the last Rudd film I saw – the 2014 romantic comedy ‘They Came Together’ which was mind-numbingly bad. So maybe the crush has nothing to do with it.
Rudd plays Ben Benjamin, a middle-aged man who is going through a personal crisis and decides to become a caregiver. His first job involves looking after an angst-y, sarcastic teen called Trevor, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair. So be mentally prepared for a lot of brief scenes that involve Ben helping Trevor pee. Yup.
Craig Roberts plays the weirdly cute Trevor, who is sexually frustrated due to his health condition and is constantly cranky, passing crude remarks & pulling mean pranks on his caregivers. All the while, sticking to a boring routine that largely limits him to the four walls of his house.
Things shake up a little in both Benjamin and Trevor’s life when they decide to do a week-long road trip to see ‘the world’s deepest’ pit. Trevor’s mom grudgingly agrees. And an interesting adventure begins, bringing a few new interesting humans into their life.
The casting directors have cherry-picked just the right people to fit into every small character that appears in this lovely little film. There is Selena Gomez, who at the time of this film was probably at least 23, but looks just right for the role of a young adult on the run from home. “I am 21,” she declares at some point in the film, while she doesn’t look a day over 16. Megan Ferguson, who has very little screen time, is endearing as Peaches, a pregnant woman, whose car goes bust on the road and is given a ride by Benjamin and Trevor.
The road trip bit in the plot allows the makers to give us viewers some amazing shots of the lush American countryside. The fields, bridges over streams, clear blue skies, all making you smile, reminding you of how the world was, before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed us all indoors.
Even the little pauses and lingering shots, still scenes that just try to show you the feelings of the protagonists, they are all worth staring at. In some review, I had mentioned how they are two kinds of slow films – 1. That makes you savour the slow moments 2. That makes you hit the ‘forward button’. ‘The Fundamentals of Caring’ falls into the first category.
Director Rob Burnett, who has also written the script which is based on a novel, has made a fun, sweet movie. And I hope there is a sequel.