We Are Your Friends starring Zac Efron is a vacuous film set in the world of DJ-ing and EDM. If you have to look up the full form of EDM, you’re already too old for this movie. The real problem, however, isn’t that the film alienates anyone who was born before the iPod was invented, but that its characters never feel even remotely authentic or interesting.
Efron stars as Cole, a struggling DJ living in the unfashionable San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, who bides his time loitering or promoting nightclubs with his three slacker buddies in between unpaid spinning gigs. He gets a massive break when he’s taken under the wing of an older, successful DJ (Wes Bentley), but when Cole falls for his mentor’s girlfriend (Emily Ratajkowski) you know where things are headed.
Despite offering an earnest performance, Efron’s never quite convincing as a talented musician, and his friends are stock stereotypes who say things like: “Don’t bro me if you don’t know me.” The plot itself is so crammed with clichés that if you start jotting them down you’ll end up with something the size of a grocery list. Yet to be fair, director Max Joseph brings some visual flair to the predictable narrative. In one impressive sequence at an art gallery, Cole, while on a drug trip, sees paintings come to life.
The film, sadly, never takes flight, and a key reason for that is the sheer emptiness of the writing. The death of a significant character doesn’t have the desired impact because the part was never fleshed out to begin with. Cole’s realization in the final act comes off as phoney and the film’s message unmistakably trite.
I’m going with two out of five for We Are Your Friends. Cole claims to know how to manipulate the music in a way that it’ll seize your body and shut your mind off to everything else around you. You wait and wait, but alas, that never happens.