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Dan's Review: "We Are Your Friends" fails to dazzle

Aug 29, 2015 10:53PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Zac Efron in We Are Your Friends - © 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

We Are Your Friends (Warner Bros.)

Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity.

Starring Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer, Jonny Weston, Wes Bentley, Joey Rudman, Jon Bernthal, Vanessa Lengies, Jon Abrahams, Alicia Coppola, Korrina Rico.

Written by Max Joseph, Meaghan Oppenheimer and Richard Silverman.

Directed by Max Joseph.

GRADE: C+

REVIEW:

There’s a form of music out there called ‘Electronica’ that utilizes all sorts of computerized sounds set to a thumping beat. A staple of dance or ‘rave’ clubs, Electronica has wide appeal among the nightclub crowd. Being kind of old, I don’t get it, but the kids apparently do. This music scene is the setting for We Are Your Friends, the story of a young DJ trying to break free from his dead-end life in the San Fernando Valley.

Zac Efron stars as Cole, a part-time DJ and full time slacker who lives for nightclubs and raves, where he sometimes “spins” his tunes for party-goers. Joining him in his bleak existence are his pals Mason (Jonny Weston), Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer), who assist in drawing hundreds of beautiful college coeds to the clubs where DJs perform. One night, Cole meets James (Wes Bentley), a millionaire DJ who takes the young man under his wing as a new prodigy. Cole is immediately attracted to James’ assistant/girlfriend is Sophie (Emily Ratajkowsi), a Stanford dropout. At the same time, Cole and his friends meet Paige (John Bernthal), a crooked real estate dealer who specializes in taking advantage of people who are about to lose their homes to foreclosure. Paige recruits the gang to work for him, and they begin to make a little money. Just when Cole starts to see success as a DJ, he becomes romantically involved with Sophie, and his relationship with James hits the skids. Cole must decide whether he wants to spend his life as a unethical real estate opportunist or follow his musical dreams.

We Are Your Friends is a familiar tale; Boy meets girl, follows his dreams, trusts in the system, gets crushed by the system, beats the odds. This time, that formula is set against the backdrop of club music, which is used as some sort of metaphor for our protagonist’s life model.

Yeah, I know. It’s a stretch.

In the end, We Are Your Friends is a trite fable about “making it big” that involves really attractive people. Zac Efron’s performance doesn’t seem to be anything notable from other characters he’s played, while Ratajkowski’s presence in the movie appears to nothing more that hotness window dressing. Yes, if you’re into the club/electronica scene, you might enjoy some of the music in We Are Your Friends. For a guy like me who can’t distinguish dubstep from house music, it’s just another show business parable you’ve seen many times before.

 

We Are Your Friends Trailer

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