By Trevor Miller
“We Are Your Friends” is the story of an aspiring DJ named Cole Carter (Zac Efron) and his friends trying make it out of the Hollywood valley and into fame.
Cole’s chance comes one night when he bumps into veteran DJ James Reed (Wes Bentley) and he eventually becomes Cole’s mentor. A wrench is thrown into the mix, though, when Cole falls for James’ girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) which jeopardizes Cole’s chance to “make it” and puts stress on his relationships with his friends.
First time director Max Joseph, known for his work on MTV’s “Catfish,” felt like he wanted to make a semi-serious movie about the struggle to become a DJ, the product though, doesn’t match the vision.
The DJ plot comes secondary to the love triangle that forms between the leads, and even Cole’s relationship with his friends seems to overshadow the initial plot of the movie. This is a shame because the best parts of the film were the scenes that involved James and Cole interacting and working. Without them, the main plot stalls until the last 15 minutes.
The tone of the movie is also a miss because while the movie succeeds in being serious it takes it too far. This would be fine, but with the material being DJs and EDM (electronic dance music), these upbeat and lively subjects turn drab. The director tries to lighten the tone of the movie with instances of humor that ultimately fall flat and have no effect on the tone, which would have brought life back into the movie.
Efron, Bentley, and Ratajkowski’s performances provide the only chemistry and honestly the only real acting throughout the movie. This is the major fault because they were the only part of the movie that made it decent, other than the music. If the leads wouldn’t have performed as well as they did, the movie would have been an utter disaster.
This is why the love triangle plot is intriguing, while the sub-plot between Cole and his friends is poorly written, poorly executed and almost unwatchable – largely due to the friends being one dimensional and completely forgettable. They don’t even feel like Cole’s friends.
On top of that, the three actors playing them bring nothing to the table, which kills any momentum the story may have built. It no longer feels like a professional film because of the quality of acting. Had the friends been cut from the script or had there just been one, the film could have benefited overall.
Plot missteps, drastic tone and horrendous secondary characters kill any chance of “We Are Your Friends” being a great film. Thankfully, great performances from the leads including a scene-stealing Wes Bentley and even better music kept the movie watchable.
“We Are Your Friends” is definitely average, but even with all the negatives, the movie still has a certain appeal that makes it worth a watch when it leaves theaters.
“We Are Your Friends” is now playing everywhere. The film is rated R with 96 minute playtime.