We Are Your Friends
We Are Your Friends is a flashy and drug-infused coming-of-age story that boasts decent performances, but crumbles under the weight of its predictable and cliche-ridden script.
Max Joseph‘s We Are Your Friends is a DJ-focused and drug-infused coming-of-age story starring Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron as an up-and-coming DJ trying to make his mark and find his career breakout moment in the busy world of Suburban California. Joseph’s direction is flashy and occasionally fresh, but the film’s cliche-ridden script keeps the story from taking off in a big way, leaving We Are Your Friends feeling like a wasted effort for not only Zac Efron, but his equally hungry co-stars.
Cole (Zac Efron) is a talented DJ trying to make a name for himself in rural California. He currently works a boring day job to barely support his weekend DJ gig, but has hopes for a brighter future after he meets James (Wes Bentley) — a successful DJ that offers to show Cole the ropes.
The two hit things off smooth enough, but Cole soon realizes that James isn’t as happy as he appears and that life can quickly turn upside down as friendships are tested and relationships are formed and broken.
Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) presents Cole with conflicting emotions as he falls for a taken for woman that seems to be under-appreciated and wanting more out of life, while James continues to drink his life away as Cole tries to both learn and create music with James, but also continue a friendship with Sophie.
All of this happens while Cole tries to balance friendships with his core group of friends, which proves to be just as difficult as breaking out as a popular DJ.
Writer/director Max Joseph‘s We Are Your Friends is a busy coming-of-age story that tries to bite off more than it can chew, but unfortunately for Joseph his flashy visual style, which boasts lots of high heat, colors and saturation just doesn’t keep We Are Your Friends on track.
The film tries to be different. It tries to break the mold in ways that would make for an interesting story. Efron’s Cole isn’t a lazy or unlikable lead by any means, but he is lost in a world filled with equally lost men and women.
And occasionally the film scratches at subtext worth digging into and exploring and Efron proves that he’s more than capable of holding the film’s weight, but Joseph’s script is surface-level from the get-go.
We Are Your Friends doesn’t care about detailing its characters and learning from their mistakes and successes. It instead would rather show us their tiny dreams and never expand upon them.
Joseph shoots some great imagery that doesn’t tread the sweaty and hot drug-induced world lightly at all, but none of it adds up.
There’s enough talent on deck to deliver well-rounded performances, but nothing ever sticks.
Efron’s Cole is your basic pretty boy that’s trying to make something of himself. He tries to elevate himself through his music and really get his act together, but things fall too neatly into his lap to present him with any sort of actual challenge. The film basically gives up on itself and hands him the ending on a silver spoon via one single phone call.
Emily Ratajkowski fairs slightly better as the love interest that he should stay far away from. At least her character actually goes places by the end and shows natural, yet important progression — even if she’s sidelined for too much of the film.
Wes Bentley and Jon Bernthal act merely as plot advancements and stick around only long enough to be recognized as talent that do not belong in a movie this simple.
We Are Your Friends might register for those looking for a very digestible and plain coming-of-age story modified slightly for this generation’s musical tastes and free-living lifestyle, but don’t let the film’s hip and cool approach fool you — there’s nothing noteworthy here and even Zac Efron wastes his talents on a film with too much glow and not enough actual vision.