Thursday, July 14, 2016


Welcome to another installment of WHAT'S ON NETFLIX?, where we pick out a film currently playing on Netflix and review it for the fans. This weeks selection is the 2016 Sundance film and Netflix original...THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING.

The Fundamentals of Caring is a new original film by Netflix that debuted on the streaming service a few weeks ago. It's based on the Jonathan Evison novel titled The Revised Fundamentals of Care-giving, and it stars the endlessly-lovable Paul Rudd, along with Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez.

The movie, written and directed by Rob Burnett, stars Paul Rudd as Ben, a guy going through a divorce, who, after a personal tragedy, decides to enroll in a class about care-giving to try to help people while also trying to turn his life around. Ben gets the job as a full-time caregiver to a 19-year-old British kid named Trevor, played by Craig Roberts, who is going through the advanced stages of muscular dystrophy. Trevor is a tyrannical, sarcastic teen who has an axe to grind with the universe, but the two strike up a friendship that leads to them going on a road trip to fulfill one of Trevor's dreams; visiting a bunch of lame roadside attractions. Along the way they meet Dot, a runaway girl played by Selena Gomez who tags along for the ride.

What could've been a generic, cliché-ridden indie road trip comedy was elevated here by the strength of the screenplay, and of course the brilliant performances from its two leads. Paul Rudd may be the most likable person on Earth, and as always he's a pleasure to watch in this film, giving a charming and subdued performance. Selena Gomez has a big role in this and was surprisingly good. While it seems like she's trying too hard to break away from her Disney persona here by saying the F word as many times as she can, she is genuinely good in this movie. He character is likable and she has great chemistry with Rudd and Roberts. Which brings me to the real star of the show. Young Welsh actor Craig Roberts was absolutely phenomenal in this movie as Trevor, showing a whole lot of range in his performance, despite being confined to a motorized wheelchair. He is entirely convincing as his sarcastic character with a penchant for dark humor. He also shows a lot of dramatic range when needed. It's an emotional performance and during the dramatic scenes he was definitely the most convincing of the three leads. I thought he was great in Richard Ayoade's Submarine, and I hope this movie opens up more roles for him, because he's very talented.

Netflix, after producing two terrible Adam Sandler movies and a lazy Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel, are back on the right track with this film, and I can't wait to see what they give us next. It's a great movie that you can put on and watch any time. It's also surprisingly funny, there were quite a few times during this movie where I was genuinely belly laughing.

While The Fundamentals of Caring is filled with road trip cliches, there are also times where is doesn't go where you expect it to, and for a movie about a guy suffering from a debilitating and life threatening illness, it's fairly upbeat. It doesn't beat you over the head with melodrama or force sympathy for its characters. It has a sense of humor about itself. This movie was tailor-made for me, and if you love these quirky, coming of age dramedies then I think you'll really enjoy this film.

I'd highly recommend checking out The Fundamentals of Caring if you have Netflix. It's short and it'll put a smile on your face. It's a great movie you can watch with your family, but be weary it has a lot of swearing in it.

Jacob's Score: 8/10

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