If you believe in the power of love and the power of music Band Aid hits the right notes. This little movie has some big performances by Zoe Lister-Jones as Anna and Adam Pally (TV’s The Mindy Project, Iron Man 3) as Ben. They are a married couple struggling with all aspects of their lives. Now in their 30’s, the future doesn’t look so bright anymore. Hopes for high powered artistic careers aren’t happening and a miscarriage derailed their plans to start a family. All that’s left is bickering and arguing. They really know how to get on each other’s nerves.
This is Lister-Jones’ (Breaking Upwards) directorial debut and she’s also written the script. The struggles are based on Lister-Jones’ own marriage with her working partner and husband. He is not as involved in this film. And she hired an all female crew for the production. It’s all handled with her steady hand. Watching this film doesn’t feel like we’re watching a vanity project. Even though Anna is the emotional center, Lister-Jones leaves room for Ben’s pain and angst. They are an engaging pair who clearly love each other, yet we are watching their relationship slowly dissolve with each stinging criticism and rebuke.
They keep trying marriage counseling, but all that manages to do is give them a platform to start another fight. They find that the hook that may save them and their marriage is music. They dig out old instruments and sing, so Ben comes up with the notion of taking their arguments into the garage and turn their fights into songs.
Enter their goofy neighbor, recovering sex addict, Dave, (Fred Armisen) who plays drums. All the songs are original and somewhat engaging, if not funny. The couple has fits and starts coming up with enough to perform and grow apart and back together as they play music together calling their band “The Dirty Dishes.” There are some tender moments and some uncomfortable ones as they face what’s really bothering both of them.
Lister-Jones and Pally are engaging as the couple interacting well. Armisen is used more as a catalyst in some ways for the emotional ups and downs. He’s so awkward, he’s funny.
Songs are often whatever is on the songwriter’s mind at the time and this is no exception, except that these are a little darker and more pointed. Not unlike the songs from Taylor Swift based on her failed relationships. This couple also laughs at some of their foibles and it becomes some kind of cathartic therapy. The lesson here may be to learn how to laugh at yourselves as you face what’s bothering you and maybe you can work it out. You see how hard this couple tries to do just that. Is it just a temporary band aid? We’ll have to listen to more songs to see if the lyrics change.