I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I was invited to a preview screening of We Are Your Friends. If I have to be completely honest, I have to say that I almost completely hated this movie. Yes, granted I am not in the right age demographic and I think electronic music is overrated and inferior to other music genres, but I tried desperately to put all of that aside to find some semblance of worthiness in this film. Zac Efron was in it, and having a teenage daughter who grew up watching High School Musical, that, and his series of movie choices that followed were always unmissable. However, since 'Are We Officially Dating?' which was a low point in his career as far as I'm concerned, and then the equally woeful 'Bad Neighbours' which was clearly another attempt to shake him from the typecast of the 'good guy', I was honestly hoping for something amazing to redeem him…this wasn't it.
We are your Friends is a story about four young men in their early 20s from the Los Angeles Valley who aspire for greatness, which for them essentially boils down to making obscene amounts of money from doing relatively nothing. They take short-cuts on their self-hyped journey of success, which includes selling drugs at music festivals and nightclubs, but eventually decide that holding down a more respectable job provides them with more of a regular income. Trouble is, that the respectable job is not respectable at all, and towards the end of the movie provides a moral dilemma for the central character. This moral dilemma and the final scene which had some 20-something year old females 'awwing' with great enthusiasm at the preview, was meant to redeem him from the series of bad choices he made, including sleeping with his music mentor's girlfriend. The script deals with this situation in a peculiar way, as after a punch up all is forgiven between the two men as they bond again over their unifying love for synthetically produced music and their aspiration to make a life changing statement at the upcoming music festival.
The storyline is weak, yes, but everything else is equally bad. It is like watching a continuous music video from which there is no escape, and just to make sure that you get the importance of the music genre and the journey which the central characters are embarking on, the screen is bombarded with words. Capped words. Maps. Diagrams. More words in CAPS and segmented into sequences…just. So.you.get.it. BUT, these words have meaning. They are the words of pop culture geniuses, none of which are known or reputable, which include life-changing messages like "If you're DJ all you need is a laptop, some talent, and one track", and so many more cringeable non-quotes.
Then, just in case the appeal has somehow not affected us, we are subjected to countless unnecessary close ups of female body parts, including Emily Ratajkowski's seemingly synthetic lips which occupy a large portion of the screen via extreme close ups (miraculously, she kept on her clothes on for this music video). Even so, her character as the central love interest, is probably one of the most interesting and likeable. She is more grounded, intriguing, and she anchors the film in something slightly more meaningful. She is also practically the only woman in the film who isn't throwing themselves at one of the DJ's or nightclub promoters…or anyone really. Well, that is until she cheats on her boyfriend with a younger and more attractive version of him – Zac Efron. Highly predictable sub-plot.
Perhaps one of the best scenes in the film happens around the ¾ mark when one of the friends dies from an accidental drug overdose. The drama between the characters, particularly after his funeral, is real and palpable. Unfortunately, it is short lived as we are soon thrown into more electronic dance music and an almost laughable montage of Cole (Zac Efron) desperately trying to find inspiration for his talent as he takes his mentor's advice to make synthetically produced music – more organic. That translated to a series of artificially produced mechanical and repetitive everyday sounds being recorded to construct the framework of the his new track which was to showcase his talent at the music festival.
This movie, would probably be best suited for late teens who enjoy the music festival scene, but for everyone else, don't bother.