August 28, 2017

SCREEN | Zoe Lister-Jones Puts A 'Band Aid' On It

"What if we turned all our fights into songs?"
Zoe Lister-Jones Adam Pally | Band Aid

Writer/actress Zoe Lister-Jones makes her directorial debut in an endearing indie comedy most notably shot with an all-female film crew. Band Aid explores the ills and darkly wry humour of a shaky marriage through rock music co-starring comedian Adam Pally.

Lister-Jones and Pally play Anna and Ben, a not-so young anymore L.A. couple, who cannot stop fighting and bickering constantly. Both struggling artists with side gigs, they channel and their marital and creative frustrations into music as a way to cope with grief, fight depression, and avoid their real feelings.

Lister-Jones' real talent goes beyond her construction of scenes, but also, her assembly of fine actors and comedians including Hannah Simone and Ravi Patel as mirrored, more conventionally successful married friends. It's a light film made better by its two lead characters and the low-key yet modestly simple musical tunes they belt out as a sort of sing/fighting hybrid of performance. Her performance, in particular, is vulnerable in its raw dissection of conflicting female emotions and feelings about aging, loss, and motherhood.

Zoe Lister-Jones Adam Pally Fred Armiesen | Band Aid

A deadpan Fred Armisen as their oddball neighbour turned band drummer, Weird Dave, steals the film with blisteringly subtle jokes and running gags about his sex addiction. The characters all have an energetic chemistry and charm together as they bicker and collaborate creatively.

Like other indie comedies of similar ilk from actor/writer/directors, Band Aid gets shaggy in its loose/thin story but lifts itself with strong character performances and a sense of specificity when it explores clear relationship dynamics. It's a strong debut film that shows Lister-Jones' range for portraying conflicting and complex human emotions on screen. It hints she's further capable of much more should she be given the resources.

The talented Lister-Jones has crafted an altogether pleasant yet endearingly sad film about marriage and creativity. Her assembly and direction of a fine cast of comic actors makes Band Aid a fairly enjoyable trifle. It's a sweet and convincing argument for the role of artistry in maintaining relationships while dealing with loss.

Band Aid is available to stream on iTunes and through video on demand. The Dirty Dishes, the band within the film, have also become a real band of sorts with an actual self-titled EP and official music video.

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