5 out of 10
We Are Your Friends Cast:
Zac Efron as Cole
Directed by Max Joseph
Cole (Zac Efron) wants to make it as a DJ in the world of electronic dance music (EDM) as he pals around with his friends and roommates, meeting girls on the L.A. club scene. He finally gets his big break when he meets a hot DJ named James (Wes Bentley), who sees potential in Cole, who is in danger of losing everything when he gets closer to James’ girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski).
Like so many other movies, the potential of Max Joseph’s drama set within the world of EDM is greater than what is actually achieved, as it’s a fairly typical rags-to-riches story following a similar formula as the far better Boogie Nights without having any of the talent to back it up.
It’s not too hard to believe Zac Efron as pretty-boy Cole, a wannabe DJ and music producer, but his friends are basically a bunch of bros, smoking pot and getting into all sorts of trouble as they try to make it in Hollywood. Of the foursome, the only one of them that seems to have any soul is the dim-witted, naïve Squirrel, played by Alex Shaffer. When Efron meets James, an affluent but arrogant DJ, he turns his back on his friends while also becoming interested in James’ girlfriend Sophie, played by Emily Ratajkowski.
The biggest overall problem with We Are Your Friends is that Efron has good looks but isn’t a particularly charismatic actor as far as making Cole an interesting character. Other than Shaffer, the actors playing his buddies don’t really offer much either, while Wes Bentley comes across like a bargain basement Adam Scott as he portrays Cole’s mentor so arrogantly that you wonder why anyone would put up with his behavior. And yet, when Cole sleeps with his girlfriend, you almost feel bad for him even though he’s done nothing to make himself seem even remotely likeable up until that point.
So let’s talk about Emily Ratajkowski, who probably wouldn’t have an acting career if not for Robin Thicke and for the fact there are plenty of horny and lecherous filmmakers in Hollywood who cast with their penises. I personally don’t find her that attractive, and she’s not a good actor, not even remotely, and when you have so many other attractive actresses with charm, personality and yes, acting skills–Margot Robbie, Alicia Vikander and Lea Seydoux for example–why on earth would you cast a talentless “model” like Ratajkowski to be the love interest in your movie?
Heck, off the top of my head, I could name dozens of better actors who would have done a better job with this role–Imogen Poots, for instance. At one point, Cole discusses the science of getting people on the dance floor, illustrated by Ratajkowski showing off her moves, and that’s about as much as she has to offer that role.
One of the few things Joseph does get right is the music aspect of the movie in terms of the creation of it as I can vouch that for the veracity of all the studio and production aspects of the movie and that’s all authentic, but the other aspects of how Cole is brought through the ranks of DJ-ing so quickly just feels like typical Hollywood fairy tales, which has little semblance in reality.
Frankly, why this movie is being released so soon after the Entourage movie is beyond me, because it just offers further proof that Los Angeles is a deplorable place where everyone is seemingly trying to get noticed or get famous and no one cares about anyone but themselves. Ratajkowski’s presence does little to avoid the Entourage comparisons either, although at least in that she played a version of herself and didn’t have to act much.
Otherwise, there’s very little about this dull drama that makes it stand out, especially in the period as summer’s winding down and we’re about to get a lot stronger dramatic fare in the fall. While it’s certainly not the worst movie made about the music business–Undiscovered still holds that honor ten years later–it’s also far from the best. We Are Your Friends comes across like a biopic about someone we’ve never heard of and probably wouldn’t care to know more about if we had.
The Bottom Line:
Handled better, We Are Your Friends could have been an insightful and even educational look at what it takes to make it in the world of electronic music. Instead, it proves there’s no such thing as friends in Hollywood because maybe they would have told the filmmakers what a lame movie they were making. If you like dance music, skip this and check out the far better Eden instead.