Most of you don’t know what this movie is, so I’ll jump right into the gist of it. Zac Efron stars as wannabe DJ Cole Carter, growing up in the Valley and stuck in a rut with his friends. He’s starstruck by former bigshot James (Wes Bentley), who takes Cole under his wing. We also have James’ girlfriend/personal assistant Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), a local businessman who is somehow making a fortune (Jon Bernthal), and then Cole’s three best friends (Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez, and Alex Shaffer).
While this movie broke records for how little it made opening weekend, I don’t think this movie is atrocious. It’s not a masterpiece either but it’s undeserving of the hate it’s been getting.
I think Efron is underrated and he manages to actually put on a decent performance here. It was marketed as a party rave movie but there are plenty of quieter moments that Efron gets to show off a different side, including a big heavy moment in the final act. It’s his chemistry with Wes Bentley, as the seasoned musician, that holds most of the movie up. Bentley’s character James is a has-been, drowning his sorrows in liquor and taking out his anger on the world. It’s a nice contrast to Efron’s optimism, walking a fine line with cliche. The movie is predictable but the journey there was an entertaining one.
I’m a fan of EDM music so I appreciated the nods thrown in for fans of the genre (including cameos by Dillon Francis, Alesso, and maybe some others that I didn’t catch). There’s a particular scene that was exceptional, as Cole explains how to work the crowd and win them over. It’s like explaining EDM using science. These moments also allowed newcomer director Max Joseph to showcase his style, which almost looks like a music video in aesthetics. It was fun to watch but it does feel a little strange when the movie goes for hardhitting moments. Just a difficult transition to pull off and I’m not sure if it ever really worked.
Without spoiling the ending, I thought the climax was really done, in a way that even non-fans of the genre could appreciate.
I’ve already mentioned that sometimes the transitions to a serious moment were a little awkward and that the movie is predictable without a doubt.
I question why Emily Ratajkowski is here. She appeared in Gone Girl as a “friend” of Ben Affleck’s character and that’s all I’ve seen her in before but in this movie… she was like a wooden cutout. Zero personality and zero chemistry with any of the male leads.
And then we have this trio of friends that Efron’s character kind of starts to neglect as he makes new friends. These guys are just downers. There’s some people in your life that you need to cut loose, yet the movie tries to make us feel bad, like it’s a bad thing that he’s not hanging out with them. I think it was just the way they were written… They were abrasive and frustrating to watch.
Lastly, the name We Are Your Friends is horrible. It’s a line that’s repeated in a famous EDM song but it doesn’t work as a title. That and half-assed marketing are probably what resulted in this movie’s catastrophic box office take.
We Are Your Friends is an interesting movie, though one I’m hesitant to recommend. The director Max Joseph has some moments of genius but overall, he struggled to find the right tone for this movie, meaning that it’s not fun enough to be the rave comedy that it could’ve been, but it also doesn’t delve deep enough to be an emotional and impactful film either. The moments he succeeded, though, I really enjoyed. Efron and Bentley work great together but are often dragged down by Ratajkowksi and her utter lack of personality. I wouldn’t see this movie in theaters but if you see it on Netflix someday, give it a watch.