We Are Your Friends: Film Review
Cast: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratjakowski, Jon Bernthal
Director: Max Joseph
"Sounds have soul"
Sadly, despite being uttered in the film, the same cannot be said for We Are Your Friends, a movie that looks at one DJ wanting to break into the world of EDM and appears to have been written by committee.
Pretty boy Zac Efron plays Cole Carter, a Valley boy who didn't go to college, who's stuck with dead-end prospects and who spends his nights playing a club as and when he can while his friends promote the place.
By a very Hollywood style coincidence, he ends up under the wing of superstar DJ James Reese (Wes Bentley who enjoys his turn as the about-to-be-washed-up svengali) who tries to help him discover his music style - but Cole's equally as interested in James' PA / girlfriend Sophie (model Emily Ratjakowski)....
For a film that's all about music that sets the heart racing, We Are Your Friends lacks the euphoria of the club scene - despite a pumping EDM soundtrack guaranteed to occasionally have your toes tapping in the aisle.
The problem is that the whole film is soulless, a rote kind of film that harnesses all the beats of a good dance film but has trouble assembling them into some kind of coherence. And while Efron makes good on the vacuous vessel that is Cole, the writers do little to serve his character with anything other than cliche. Plus, it's hard to emote when you're sat in front of a computer trying to put together a killer track (something the film tries to show that the best music comes from the feelings within)
Equally, Cole's mates who really should be the emotional centre of the film and have provided more conflict for the character when he falls in with the DJ set are so poorly served that when stuff goes down for them, it feels so piecemeal and formulaic that it has no punch whatsoever.
Granted, the easy on the eye Ratjakowksi and charming Efron make a pretty couple, but the shallow feel of the film, coupled with Cole's continually earnest voiceover that all it takes is one track to break through, cripples the flick and denies it any of the credibility this underdog story is so clearly striving for.
While the dance music is pretty pumping and there's a nice sequence with Cole on drugs (albeit bizarrely, PCP) that sees paintings bleeding into the floor and overtaking him, the overly earnest We Are Your Friends feels so formulaic and lacking in heart that there's no cathartic moments to behold, and for a film that should be about living it up while you're young, that's nothing short of criminal.