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Review: “We Are Your Friends”

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Photo courtesy of wayf-movie.com

(Photo courtesy of “WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS”)

There may be a demographic that “We Are Your Friends” appeals to, and there may actually be a crowd that accepts its lousy title to hold true, and I would even hope that there’s someone out there that can relate to Cole Carter’s (Zac Efron) aspiring journey to become the next big DJ.  

But, seeing as the film currently holds the title in the top five worst film debuts of all time for a 2000+ theaters, it’s hard to believe that any of that is true.

To be clear, it is not my shortage of expertise in EDM that warrants no connection to the characters, but rather the fact that the majority of them are just plainly unlikeable. They’re people we all know yet not ones we’d necessarily want to be friends with. And while the title may suggest otherwise, the film isn’t about them. It’s solely about Cole.

“The film is about Cole’s aspirations and his dream to become a professional DJ,” Efron said in an interview with The DePaulia. “His friends all share a version of that dream, and that thing that got me interested in the script was I shared the same dreams respectively as those boys once did.”

“Whether your escape is acting, directing, or anything else,” Efron said.

As the film attempts to pin down this aspect of the American Dream and position it as its theme, it begins to fall apart.  There’s no decency in attempting an underdog story about four highly privileged boys, who at the same time happen to be completely mindless, sexist, idiotic to each other and everyone around them.

There’s even a scene in the beginning of the film in where the audience is supposed to believe a person like Zac Efron is not capable of talking to girls at a club, as if he’s trying to be awkward.

Yet, Efron does what he can with what little emotion is given to the character, and while the film tries to pass Cole off as the classic “underdog smarter than he looks type,” all he comes off as is pure lucky.

By chance of course (or lazy writing, you decide), Cole finds himself under the wing of James, a professional DJ, played by Wes Bentley, who gives the best performance of the film.

Here we get the clichéKarate Kid and Mr. Miyagi type mentorship that soon becomes threatening after Cole becomes closer with James’s girlfriend, Sophie, played by Emily Ratajkowski (who—in all seriousness—is just in front of the camera to look pretty for the audience).

As the film progresses, it tends to lose control of what it’s trying to say and where it’s wanting to go.

“The hard thing about going from a documentary to a film is the control,” director Max Joseph, best known for his work on MTV’s “Catfish,” said. “You have to act like a manager to the actors, the crew, the editor, everyone.”

“With a documentary you film what’s happening without any control. With a feature like this, you have to make what you want to happen yourself,” he said. “For both cases, it’s about staying true to what the film is about.”

This is a rather difficult feat given the number of diversions the film takes, from the boys mortgaging houses, to drugs and OD’ing, to random music video scenes throughout.  It’s a messy film, which does its best to be a lot more serious than it needs to be, but a lot more moronic than it wanted to be.

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Review: “We Are Your Friends”