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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Movie Review - The Fundamentals of Caring

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Ehle, and Bobby Canavale
Directed by Rob Burnett
***This films currently streaming via Netflix***

The Fundamentals of Caring could so easily have been sentimentally mushy, but thanks to some irreverent humor and witty dialogue, writer-director Rob Burnett's film is an amusing diversion.  Trevor (Craig Roberts) is an eighteen year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Unable to walk or perform typical daily tasks, Trevor's mother Elsa (Jennifer Ehle) hires caregiver Ben (Paul Rudd) to watch over her son while she works.  Ben has his own demons to deal with, but the sarcastic Trevor helps to liven up Ben's life and inspires the caregiver to take Trevor on a road trip to see a variety of cheesy roadside American "attractions" that Trevor has always longed to see.  Along the way, they meet the sassy and strong-willed Dot (Selena Gomez) because every buddy road trip needs someone or something to create a bit of tension.

There is something very rote and "typical" about The Fundamentals of Caring, but the game cast adds a sardonic tone to the proceedings which creates enough humor to liven up the lack of originality.  Young Craig Roberts with whom I am unfamiliar doesn't make us feel sorry for Trevor which is a positive difference here in films of this ilk.  His dry humor along with a surprisingly sassy and capable performance from Selena Gomez (with whom I'm also unfamiliar as an actress) create an atmosphere that consistently brings a smile.  While the film still falls into some familiar tropes -- the less said about the pregnant hitchhiker and the ridiculously obvious conclusion to her subplot the better -- this one is still a pleasant diversion.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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