Mature indie dramedy isn't always pretty, but it's honest.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Band Aid is an indie romantic dramedy about a couple ((Zoe Lister-Jones and Adam Pally) that turns to music in an attempt to save their marriage. The characters and writing are amazingly real, sometimes almost uncomfortably so, and there's a lot of mature content. A couple has sex more than once; nudity includes a woman's breasts and part of a man's bottom, and other scenes show skimpy/sexy underwear. There's talk of getting pregnant, miscarriages, and oral sex, and a secondary character is a recovering sex addict. Swearing is almost constant, with nonstop uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and more. The main characters smoke pot regularly and take mushrooms once. One character takes muscle relaxants while drinking at a bar; they affect her strongly. There's fighting and arguing, a couple of fits of range that are played for laughs, and references to Hitler and Nazis. One of the main characters works as an Uber driver, and other brands and products are mentioned.
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What's the Story?
In BAND AID, married couple Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) can't stop fighting. They squabble over just about everything, including the kitchen sink. Then, at a kids' birthday party, they pick up some toy instruments and improvise a song; it's the most fun they've had together in a long time. Later, Anna has the idea that they should try to set all their fights to music. So they recruit their neighbor -- recovering sex addict Dave (Fred Armisen) -- to be their drummer. It goes great for a while. But then things take a new turn, and Anna and Ben's past troubles with trying to have a baby come to the fore. Then they have the biggest fight of their lives. Can music save them this time?
Is It Any Good?
Indie actress/screenwriter Lister-Jones makes her directing debut here, and while the characters' frequent arguing makes it a less-than-pretty experience, it's impressively, emotionally real. For a long time, it's difficult to get behind the characters in Band Aid, who are shown at their worst right from the get-go. But eventually their conversations and back-and-forth bickering begin to sound amazingly authentic; each character comes from a place of three-dimensional wants and needs, and no screenwriting shortcuts have been taken.
A highlight, of course, is the music. The songs are simple but extremely effective and sometimes quite powerful thanks to the players' honest performances. Armisen, while very funny here, is the only true oddball. Dave doesn't quite fit with the rest of the characters; he seems more like a Saturday Night Live character than anyone you might know. (His sex-addict character lives with two beautiful women with funny names -- played by Erinn Hayes and Jamie Chung -- whom he says he finds "repulsive.") But he's still quite likable. Bottom line? In the end, Band Aid hits more right notes than it does sour ones.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Band Aid's depicts sex. How does the movie use it to explore and deepen the characters? Is any of it gratuitous? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How often do the characters drink and do drugs? Is the substance use played for humor? What message does that send? Are there consequences?
Does music ever help you feel better when you're in a bad mood or you can't cope with something? Why?
Have you ever had fights with someone you love? Why do people who love each other fight? What are some ways to make it better?
- In theaters: June 2, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: August 1, 2017
- Cast: Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Zoe Lister-Jones
- Director: Zoe Lister-Jones
- Studio: IFC Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity
- Last updated: March 21, 2023
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