Altadena middle-school music teachers Marty (Will Ferrell) and Bobbi Mohan-Culp (Ana Gasteyer) were innovators when it came to cringey covers of modern pop songs on Saturday Night Live. From their makeshift pulpit at the far end of the gymnasium, they keyboarded and gyrated their way into our hearts. We loved them because they were funny, and decidedly not because they had any romantic chemistry whatsoever.
Piano Lessons starts by spoon-feeding us the tried-and-true Mohan-Culp dynamic, and it goes down smooth. That is, until the safe taste of broad, bald-capped caricature is bittered by Sheila Carrasco and Eliot Schwartz’s legit acting skills, and we start to feel something. Uh-oh.
Written by Carrasco and Schwartz, and directed by Alex Staggs, the impressiveness of Piano Lessons lies in its totally non-saccharine balancing of absurdity with loneliness and, dare I say it … hope?
And then, of course, it ends with some real creepy, piano-accompanied pre-humping, devoid of any true human emotion.
Marty and Bobbi Mohan-Culp would be proud.