If you’re looking for a film that will have you crying, this isn’t it. No, you’ll be laughing. You’ll be fulfilled with how some people learn to cope with the life they have been given. You’ll feel sad at moments, but you’ll definitely come out feeling like you should live your life as if yesterday was boring.
So what is The Fundamentals of Caring really about? Well, it tells the story of one man named Ben, played by Paul Rudd, who becomes a carer for a unique, witty and stroppy teenager who has muscular dystrophy. Trevor, played by Craig Roberts, is not your average 18-year-old. He is somewhat accepting of his disability but has an interesting way of dealing with life itself. Ben and Trevor decide to go on a road trip, stopping at all the different places that Trevor has thought about – as expected from a wheelchair-bound young man who doesn’t go far from his living room.
The pair share the chemistry. They know how each other works. Pranks, jokes, involvement… they push each other to the limit and expose each other in ways that makes it both amusing and frightening. Ben is eager to prove that there is more to life than watching TV and fantasising about Katy Perry whilst eating some waffles and a sausage.
Would you believe it? Ben was right. As a man who has lost his own son to an accident, he wants to give Trevor the opportunity to try new things and see things he hasn’t before. There’s something about the way Ben initiates change for Trevor, how he so casually helps him to open up and not be afraid to be slightly adventurous.
The week-long trip held more surprises than any of us knew – with Trevor meeting a girl called Dot, played by Selena Gomez, (okay that one was a given) and Ben delivering Peaches’ baby by the biggest pit in America. Oh! And the biggest one of all is obviously the transformation from waffles to French toast.
Dot is cheeky, cool and confident. She’s not afraid to ask all the questions including whether Ben is a pervert (he isn’t) and if Trevor’s penis still works (it does). She makes it clear that she is only into the bad guys, but in the end admits that Trevor is ‘cool and handsome’. Peaches is the woman who they picked up along the way and had her baby on the ground, but her innocent and sweet nature makes everything seem calm. She doesn’t seem to mind the swearing, the jokes and the mithering.
Trevor faces many challenges with his disability and part of him always seemed held back but if there’s two people who can change his perception on life, it’s his carer and a girl he fancies. The Fundamentals of Caring is scattered with wit, from Ben slapping a Slim Jim in Trevor’s face to Ben finally helping Trevor to pee standing up.
There will be two types of people to watch this film: those who like the humour added to such bad situations but still care about the core issues, and those who don’t feel a connection to the characters because of the humour. Well, I pick the first one. The pranks brought out the fear in me because they showcased the worst that could happen. Relief is one of the best feelings in the world.
Both of the main actors have made a heart breaking story into something funny, challenging and beautiful. Ben is a retired writer, but it seems after meeting Trevor his whole perspective changed and he found the words again. Just as Trevor continued to be Trevor – the boy who plays pranks on the lucky person who wipes his ass.
Should you watch this film?
Most definitely. Even if it’s not 100% your thing, it’s worth the laughs and the realisation that life doesn’t have to be boring, whether you’re in a wheelchair or not.