If you’ve found yourself endlessly scrolling through Netflix to find a movie to watch, you cannot go wrong with this Netflix Original cheeky dramedy. The film is about a teenage boy who’s lack of adventure and motivation seems as if it will be the death of him (life-threatening health conditions aside). He develops a friendship with his new care-taker, played by Paul Rudd, who happens to come with his own set of emotional baggage.
The humour that constantly charges between these two characters is just the right amount of sarcasm and bluntness which allows for the audience to laugh about the tragic circumstances rather than to dwell on them. The comedy is inserted so effortlessly and casual that there is no time to feel guilt over laughing and that is exactly what the audience needs to get the most from this film. The unapologetic nature of the film’s dialogue turns an otherwise downbeat and despairing narrative into one that is light-hearted and moving. The hard truths about each character’s struggles are not what defines them or enhances the film’s ability to touch its audience, but rather it is that both characters are able to use humour as a way of coping through times of struggle. The overall message I gathered from the film is that yes, life may decide to screw us over once in a while, but what matters and what keeps us going is staying positive in order to stay strong. This does not mean lying to yourself or denying the reality of it all, but to simply accept it and do whatever you still can to feel alive and happy because that is the only way there is to live.
The overly simplistic plot certainly does not take away from the film. Majority of the film highlights the impromptu road trip to see various American landmarks that are completely off the beaten track. For example, a record winning sized cow. This simplified plot functions to strengthen two important aspects of the film. If the plot had been action-packed and dramatic, the focus would be taken away from the importance of the character’s relationship. Secondly, a more complex plot would erode the narrative’s significance in a sense that without a simple plot with simple scenarios, the film would not serve as a reminder that to live happily involves appreciating and indulging in the simple pleasures that life so generously offers free to us.
In choosing to watch The Fundamentals of Caring, you are invited to laugh with the characters and their pain and simultaneously find yourself feeling uplifted and ready to face whatever the next crap storm is to come your way. It’s a very feel-good film, although I must admit I did cry once or twice. Enjoy!