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U.S. Dramatic; 93 minutes.
Marital strife sounds better set to music in "Band Aid," a relationship comedy that's best when it's being serious.
Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones, who also wrote and directed) and Ben (Adam Pally) fight all the time, getting into f-bomb-heavy shouting matches triggered by things as slight as the dishes in the sink. There are bigger issues, like their jobs she's an Uber driver with a failed book deal in her past, he's an artist working as a graphic designer. But the biggest issue is the one they never talk about: A miscarriage about a year ago.
After a birthday party for Anna's godson, the couple has fun playing with toy musical instruments meant for the little kids. This spark of creativity, and fun, gives Anna an idea: Why don't start a band, and write their fights into songs?
The couple enlists their oddball neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen) to play drums, and soon they have a band. The rehearsal and performance scenes form the emotional core of the movie, with all the songs (written by Lister-Jones and Kyle Forrester) performed live during filming.
The scenes of Anna and Ben relating to each other through their music and through deeper levels of arguments are emotionally powerful, and Lister-Jones shows great skill at packing big ideas into economical dialogue. There's also an authentic, lived-in chemistry between Lister-Jones and Pally that makes their marriage, in its highs and lows, completely believable.
They're so good together, and their emotional territory so raw, that the movie drags when it veers off into sillier comedy like Dave and his, uh, unusual living arrangements. Those scenes are "Band Aid's" version of the less exciting new songs a classic rock band plays in between the hits.
– Sean P. Means
"Band Aid" screens again at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival at the following times and venues:
• Wednesday, Jan. 25, noon, Library Center Theatre, Park City
• Thursday, Jan. 26, 3:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City
• Friday, Jan. 27, 9:15 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City
• Saturday, Jan. 28, 3 p.m., Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City