The Fundamentals of Caring

The Fundamentals of Caring [2016] is the most recent Netflix Original film directed by longtime television producer, Rob Burnett and stars the always entertaining, Paul Rudd. However, this film takes a complete turn from what we are all familiar with when it comes to a Paul Rudd character. Ben (Paul Rudd) is a depressed man looking for a job and finds one as a caregiver for the disabled Trevor (Craig Roberts). Together they are able to find a little more meaning in their own lives as they journey through the Northwest Region of America to see some of the most strange landmarks of the nation.

Paul Rudd...Nuff Said:  But really there is more to say.  Essentially, this is the best performance that Paul Rudd has ever given and it may be the best he will ever be able to show. Recently everything Rudd touches becomes an instant entertainment grenade. We have been trained to think Rudd is mainly a funny type cast but in The Fundamentals of Caring, he is able to act with more range than we have ever seen before. Ben is a sad individual that goes through a dramatic and demanding journey throughout the film. By the end of the story, Ben has exhausted the audience with the powerful performance of Rudd.

Great Genre Mash-Up:  The Fundamentals of Caring takes everything amazing from Little Miss Sunshine [2006] and The Bucket List [2007] to create a unique take on the ultimate journey/road trip movie genre. And even though there is a lot of inspiration from those two films, there is not a second of originality lacking. The third act takes a complete turn from the traditional wrap-up for this type of film. Truly refreshing.

Actually Believable:  Unlike most films of its kind, The Fundamentals of Caring actually delivers a very believable account of the journey Ben and Trevor take. Even more believable is the relationship the two men share. The story does not have some kind of lavish Hollywood touch. It is as if Ben and Trevor were real people and they tracked their journey for us mile by mile.

Carries A Lot:  This film excels in nearly every area. However, there are times where the story attempts to flesh out too many characters and their own personal issues. This would not have been an issue if the film was about 20 minutes longer but with a runtime of under 100 minutes, the extra character development for the supporting cast seemed a little rushed and bloated. But the supporting cast was still represented very well in the film and they all served as a critical element to the pair of Ben and Trevor.

The Fundamentals of Caring [2016] is an incredibly fresh take on the ultimate journey/road trip genre, with a jaw-dropping performance by Paul Rudd and a fairly stunning supporting cast.