Paul Rudd has become one of Hollywood’s most effective weapons.
By casting him in your film you automatically have a likable, redeeming character who the audience is already rooting for, even before he says a word. Rudd plays just such a character in one of the 2016 Sundance Film Festivals most anticipated titles The Fundamentals of Caring.
Rudd stars as Ben, a depressed man going through a divorce and a tragic loss who seeks to better his life by bettering someone else’s. Rudd applies for the job as a caregiver to an 18 year old with muscular dystrophy named Trevor, played wonderfully by Craig Roberts (Submarine.) Trevor, like Ben, is a defeated soul. Trevor completely closes himself off to the outside world but Ben is determined to motivate himself to break out of his routine, his house, and go on a self discovering journey.
What follows is a captivating adventure of two people who have the world working against them, but finally a teammate to fight back at it.
The film was written and directed by Rob Burnett, a longtime writer and producer on the Late Show with David Letterman. Burnett has penned a moving and hilarious tale of these two people who need each other in their own ways to survive.
The characters of Ben and Trevor and the performances of Rudd and Roberts are an absolute joy to watch. Their comedic timing, chemistry and moments of heart they bring carry this film and make it worth seeing.
My one complaint is the one dimensional characters Burnett wrote, which happen to be the female characters of this film. Selena Gomez plays Dot, a girl who joins the two on their road trip across the country. Dot is a foul-mouthed rebel girl, but every line that comes out is teenage angst played at about a ten. It is a character we have seen too many times.
When a pregnant ditsy woman named Peaches (Megan Ferguson) joins the trip, it is more of the same. It is incredibly frustrating that a movie with two male leads who are so complex, fleshed out and challenging are accompanied by women so one note, predictable and drab.
But overall, Fundamentals of Caring is a Sundance success. Netflix picked up the Worldwide VOD rights a week before the festival so this film will be available for the world to see soon. What this film wants to do it accomplishes, it will leave you smiling and laughing, but most importantly it will make you feel, and that is a great thing.