Zac Efron (Neighbors) stars as Cole Carter, an aspiring DJ who just found the opportunity of a lifetime. Through pure coincidence he meets famed DJ James Reed (Wes Bentley) and begins to find his own unique sound. But complications ensue when Cole falls for Reed's beautiful assistant/girlfriend.
We Are Your Friends at it's core is a coming of age tale about a musician learning to create instead of imitate. Cole and his entourage work in the business of parties, they bring in all the guests for big socials but when this isn't rewarding them with enough money, they begin to work for a real estate organization under Jon Bernthal's (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl) Paige but this isn't the life Cole wants to live. He wants to be a headlining DJ.
For the first two acts of We Are Your Friends, I was enjoying the film. The music was good, it had an interesting visual flare especially in a scene where Cole trips on PCP and the performances were solid. But in the third act which I'll touch more upon later in the review, the film really loses itself.
Zac Efron leads the film well with his co-stars Wes Bentley (Interstellar) and Emily Ratajkowski (Entourage) but none of their characters are very likable. Wes Bentley's James Reed is a washed up DJ with an alcohol issue but is perhaps the most human of the bunch and his girlfriend played by Ratajkowski loses all of her likability when she cheats on Reed with Cole. Cole is the most likable out of the bunch mostly because he really tries to help a woman keep her home when she's in fear of being evicted but still he's not a character I was overly fond of.
The real issue with We Are Your Friends is it's blatant lack of narrative. There is never a clear plot line that we're supposed to be following. Is it the evolution of Cole's music? Or perhaps his relationship with Sophie (Ratajkowski)? Or the relationship between he and his friends who also work at a real estate company? I never had any idea which plot line the film wanted me to follow, but that was fine for the first two acts because the film still was quite entertaining, it was well edited, well shot and had some great music. But as soon as a tragedy occurs in Cole's friendship group I began to question what the film was actually striving to do. So much plot is forced down your throat in the finale 25 minutes and the film expects you to care about characters that you have no empathy with at all which is a real shame considering the performances are quite good.
Zac Efron is an actor that has really impressed me as of late, especially with his terrific work in the overall quite disappointing comedy Neighbors. He's very good in his role here as a young aspiring DJ but it's not a role that will advance his career much like Neighbors did. I feel that if the film was much more focused, his character could have undergone a lot more development. The movie works representing Cole's artistic dreams and from what I understand about the DJ world but the subplot of his real estate job and the relationship between he and his entourage never works.
The film definitely has an energy to it, snappy editing, loud music and some interesting visual decisions keep the film aesthetically quite attractive but all of the enjoyment in We Are Your Friends really does come from the surface and if you look for anything deeper, you're going to be disappointed.
We Are Your Friends is an entertaining rags to riches movie with some solid performances but poor characters and a lack of narrative focus hold the film back from being one I can recommend.
Have you seen We Are Your Friends? If so, what did you think about the movie? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97