Embarking on adulthood is hard, but doesn’t have to be joyless, as the new indie mumblecore comedy “Band Aid” shows.
Making its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and in theaters this Friday, “Band Aid” is a light-hearted romantic comedy about the hardships of modern relationships and how sometimes those things are best dealt with by some good old fashioned rock and roll. Making her feature film debut, writer, director, and star Zoe Lister-Jones shows in her millennial-set Silverlake comedy how young adults of today’s age deal with major relationship issues by self-therapizing and writing indie rock songs about one’s troubles, leading to a refreshing take on romance and growing up.
“Band Aid” centers around a longtime Los Angeles couple, Anna (Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally), who, while seeing their friends’ relationships take the next steps with engagements and children, busy themselves by dealing with remedial frustrations. Their constant complaining about dirty dishes serves as a deeper frustration for their stagnant lives and inability to commit more to each other. When petty shouting matches continue to erode at their relationship, the two decide to deal with their anger by dusting off their garage-kept instruments and writing rock songs as an outlet for expressing their annoyance with each other – a temporary “band-aid” on a much larger issue both are unwilling to admit to. Band Aid moves along charmingly, but the longer the two stay together, the more they fight, in turn leading to more originally written songs. This puts them in the awkward spot of advancing their rock band life but at the cost of worsening their relationship. Emotions swirl, leading to a dizzying place that forces Anna and Ben to confront the hardships of their complicated relationship.
The most redeeming moments of “Band Aid” are the original songs that Lister-Jones and Pally perform, which are catchy and show a fun chemistry between them.
While”Band Aid” is light-hearted fare and moves along with a breezy and casual style (it most resembles the mumblecore stylings of indie director Joe Swanberg’s “Joshy” and Netflix’s original series “Easy”), it, unfortunately, plays its minor notes far too heavily and for far too long. The continuous fights throughout the movie end up playing much too uncomfortably, without any sense of release or relief.”Band Aid” should have been more of a joyous and uplifting comedy, but this story is one that feels more willing to ruminate in the low points of their relationships rather than the fun and promising times of creating music together. For this reason, the film will probably be best received by younger crowds who relate to the light-hearted fare and snarky attitudes of the unrelenting protagonists.
The most redeeming moments of”Band Aid” are the original songs that Lister-Jones and Pally perform, which are catchy and show a fun chemistry between them. Also in on the fun is veteran funnyman Fred Armisen lending consistently funny moments to the flick as the weird next door neighbor who plays drums for the band. Although”Band Aid” treads far too much into tonally-uncomfortable areas, it’s still a strong showing from Lister-Jones and may really capture a hard note to hit.
“Band Aid” is not rated. 91 minutes. Opening at ArcLight Hollywood and The Landmark this Friday. Available on VOD June 9th.