Band Aid, the refreshingly raw, real, and hilarious feature debut from Zoe Lister-Jones, is the story of a couple, Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally), who can’t stop fighting. Advised by their therapist to try and work through their grief unconventionally, they are reminded of their shared love of music. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, they decide to turn all their fights into song, and with the help of their neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen), they start a band. A story of love, loss, and rock and roll, Band Aid is a witty and perceptive view of modern love, with some seriously catchy pop hooks to boot.
One of the big hits from Sundance this year, Zoe Lister-Jones writes both the script and the music, stars, produces and directs Band Aid. The film veers away from being a conventional Sundance dramedy thanks to the two leads, Lister-Jones and Pally. The chemistry between the two of them is remarkable as they play off each other well, resulting in some great comedic moments.
Anna and Ben are a couple that are constantly fighting and find themselves in a rut. Once they rediscover their love for music they form a band in the hopes that this can revitalize their faltering marriage. The music that’s composed for the film has a fresh delivery to it. At first the songs are diss tracks about each other, ranging from chores not being done to constantly being a nag. As the story progresses the music becomes fine tuned and the lyrics become more personal as the couple continues to bandage up old wounds. Band Aid is elevated thanks to the music, whether it be a quippy rock song or a romantic ballad.
Both Anna and Ben are at a point in their lives where everything seems to have stopped. Both are struggling with their professions, stuck in a stalemate, their frustration turns to each other as their bickering becomes a regular occurrence. Anna is uptight and annoyed by her house being a disaster. Ben borders on lazy as he works from home and spends most of his day living nonchalantly. Their differences result in the marriage being on the ropes as the couples devastating past begins to catch up with them.
The constant banter between the two of them is witty as both are too honest with each other and don’t hold back when throwing insults at one another. After the duos successful jam session they reach out to their neighbour Dave, played by Fred Armisen, who joins the band as the drummer. Armisen gets big laughs as the goofy looking neighbor who happens to be a recovering sex addict, the more Anna and Ben find out about him the more they think he’s a potential serial killer. Once Armisen is in the fold, the newly named band ‘Band Aid’ starts to land local gigs.
Zoe Lister-Jones has made a funny, heartwarming film that shows the good, the bad, and the ugly of marriage while still showing that love can be salvaged. Her and Adam Pally’s relationship is impressive as we sympathize for them and root for them both. Band Aid features an impressive cast of recognizable talents that all contribute to Anna and Ben’s story. Lister-Jones and her all-female crew brilliantly shoot the sunkissed Los Angeles, whether it be the grassy parks or the sandy beaches. Band Aid is a delight from start to finish as the story provokes certain emotions that we’ve all felt at one time or another.