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Band Aid

Adam Pally and Zoe Lister-Jones in "Band Aid." IFC Films

Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) are constantly arguing. It may have to do with the fact that they’re frustrated with their careers — her book deal fell apart, and he lacks the determination to be a successful visual artist. Or it may be because their marriage is no longer working.

But whatever the problem is, the two would be excellent candidates for one of those reality shows in which the audience is invited to gawk at a relationship in meltdown. Unfortunately, no cameras are around to capture their unhappiness.

Things take a turn when Anna gets an offbeat idea: Why not transform their arguments into songs? Better yet, why not start a band and perform them in public? At first, Ben thinks Anna is joking — but when he realizes that she’s serious, he decides to go along.

With Anna on bass and Ben on guitar, all they need is a drummer. And they find him in neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen), who’s not exactly creepy but doesn’t quite qualify as normal.

Their musical career proves to be surprisingly entertaining. But it’s just a bandage on a deep trauma that Anna and Ben would rather avoid talking about.

“Band Aid” is an uneasy blend of raunchy humor and hipster angst. Written and directed by Lister-Jones (who stars in the TV series “Life in Pieces”), the film occasionally gets enough momentum going to generate laughs. But it also gets too bogged down in Anna and Ben’s marital quagmire.

As a performer, Lister-Jones acquits herself well on both the comedic and melodramatic fronts. And the scruffily charming Pally comes across as a hybrid of Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. But Armisen’s weirdo shtick is way past its sell-by date.

If you’re married, you may empathize with “Band Aid.” If you’re not, consider it a cautionary tale about what can happen when two people who once made beautiful music together lose the beat.


What “Band Aid” • 2½ stars out of four • Run time 1:33 • Rating PG-13 • Content Language

Calvin Wilson is theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.