The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

8:09 AM

Caring is a Funny Thing
The Fundamentals of Caring is directed by Rob Burnett (We Made This Movie) and stars Paul Rudd (Ant-Man, Role Models), Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers, Hotel Transylvania) and Craig Roberts (Submarine, The Story of Tracy Beaker). "A man suffering an incredible amount of loss enrolls in a class about care-giving that changes his perspective on life". The Fundamentals of Caring debuted at Sundance - does it have a niche, indie appeal or is there something about it that appeals to everyone?

Usually at festivals such as Sundance, there are films that everyone is talking about for good or bad reasons - The Fundamentals of Caring was never really spoken about during or after Sundance, it kind of just floated through the festival. For a film that has such little buzz, why would Netflix be willing to pay so much for it? Because it's a really good film that's why. The Fundamentals of Caring is an extremely charming and sophisticated film that is acted well and has a really distinctive style of humour. I really liked this film. (Disclaimer: Yes Selena Gomez stars in this film but I watched it with a completely open mind). 

I am going to start with the performances because they were strong across the board. I thought Paul Rudd was excellent and this film gave him the chance to showcase both his comedic side as well as his dramatic side. Rudd was likeable and relatable. Craig Roberts was also brilliant - his character could have easily been unlikeable but the way Roberts pulled off the humour made the character even better. I thought the chemistry between Rudd and Roberts was great- they bounced off of each other really well and I don't think the film would be the same without either actors as they really are the heart of the film. For the supporting cast, Selena Gomez does a really nice job. Gomez goes back to her routes with a performance that is similar to how Alex Russo was portrayed (but many more swear words). Gomez was sassy and also helped with some comedic moments. Gomez and Roberts also had good chemistry- even though it could have been stronger, it was still believable. The only performance that let the film down was from Frederick Weller - he only had one scene but that one scene was pretty horrible to sit through as his performance just wasn't that great (plus his character was extremely unlikeable). 

The Fundamentals of Caring has lots going for it - however, one thing that lets its down is the story which is sweet and nice but it isn't anything we haven't seen before. This film is your typical coming of age road trip film - it isn't a bad thing that the story is simple and generic but it would be nice to see the film try to reach areas we haven't seen before. I thought the character development was pretty good though - each of the three main characters was given their own backstory at points but I would have liked to have seen a little more development, especially with Rudd's character. The best way to describe the film though is charming and it is really hard to dislike - flaws are easily forgiven. The writing definitely is the weakest part of the film - that could explain why the chemistry between Gomez and Roberts isn't as strong - there isn't really that much dialogue to develop their relationship. 

I would compare this in terms of story and themes to the recent Me Before You - disability is a key theme in both films. I think some may find The Fundamentals of Caring not very tasteful but I think if you have quite a dry and sarcastic sense of humour, you will find it funny. I thought the film had many funny moments - they were usually raunchy or sarcastic so if that type of humour doesn't appeal to you, I would advise you don't watch the film. This film also has similarities to books and films by John Green - it has a very Green-esque narrative and you could take these characters and easily put them in a John Green book. However, The Fundamentals of Caring has a slightly older appeal as I wouldn't really say it is a YA film. 

The Fundamentals of Caring is a very charming film. Rudd, Roberts and Gomez are all fantastic and each character is quirky and relatable in their own right. Even though the story is extremely generic, that can be easily forgiven with the amount of heart and funny moments that this film has. If you have Netflix and want a light-hearted film that is relatable and uplifting then The Fundamentals of Caring is for you. 

4 STARS
B+

What did you think of THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING? Do you see the similarities to John Green? - COMMENT BELOW

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