Zoe Lister-Jones and Adam Pally portray a married couple worth rooting for as they turn their biggest fights into catchy pop songs. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
What’s the best course of action for a married couple who can’t stop fighting? Therapy, counseling, separate bedrooms? The answer is obviously to start a band with their weird neighbor and turn their biggest fights into catchy, minimalist pop songs.
In “Band Aid,” Anna (writer/director/producer/star Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) flounder around, work dead-end jobs and watch their friends mature, have kids, find career success and otherwise hit typical markers of a successful life. Meanwhile, their marriage is in the can; their couple’s counselor abandons them; and they try to ignore a vague but always present tragedy from earlier days.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Band Aid,’ with Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Brooklyn Decker, Colin Hanks, Jesse Williams, Jamie Chung, Erinn Hayes. Written and directed by Lister-Jones. 91 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nudity, language and suggestive content). SIFF Cinema Uptown.
The only way to cope is to scream at each other while strumming guitars. And fortunately enough, their socially awkward, recovering sex-addict neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen) provides a solid beat behind the drums.
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Nothing terribly unexpected happens, and “Band Aid” never veers far from the quirky comedic drama formula. (Or is it dramatic comedy? It’s hard to tell; there’s a pretty even split.) Still, it cuts through the aging slacker angst and millennial ennui to get to something earnest and authentic underneath.
A laundry list of famous faces populate scenes here and there, but the whole thing hinges on the central relationship. Pally gives Ben depth beyond just a schlubby dude more interested in pizza than sex, but it’s Lister-Jones who powers the film. Biting, heartbreaking and with a vocabulary that would make a longshoreman blush, she tears herself open, and the two throw down without pulling a single punch.
The simple, straightforward direction plays almost like a stage production at times, but it allows Anna and Ben ample space to emotionally savage each other.
Even with deep-seated problems that they may or may not be able to overcome, this is a couple worth rooting for. And — heartfelt, sarcastic and funny; tinged with love, loss and healing — “Band Aid” is, too.