We Are Your Friends (2015)

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Released:  Friday, August 28, 2015  
Length:  96 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Drama/Suspense
Rating: We Are Your Friends is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaUnder 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


“We Are Your Friends” is about what it takes to find your voice. Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood nightlife, an aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Efron) spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Bentley), who takes him under his wing. Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Ratajkowski). With Cole’s forbidden relationship intensifying and his friendships unraveling, he must choose between love, loyalty, and the future he is destined for.

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8/26/2015 3:07 PM EDT
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We Are Your Friends Theatrical Review

Zac Efron (Neighbors) seems to gravitate towards movies that incorporate music.  From singing and dancing in his earlier roles, to his latest film We Are Your Friends, Efron has a connection that will most likely follow him and pop up from time to time throughout his career.  As Cole Carter, a DJ trying to make it in the LA scene, he has a different relationship with lyrics and beats than his previous endeavors, but perhaps a more powerful one.

Cole is a twenty something, DJ-ing in a club for free, trying to catch his big break and set the world on its ear with a groundbreaking beat.  All the while, he lives at his friend Mason's (Johnny Weston; Taken 3) house doing odd jobs in between gigs. A chance meeting with Big time DJ James Reed (Wes Bently; The Hunger Games) gives Cole the opportunity to explore his sound and become a legitimate DJ making some real money.

However, Cole manages to ruin a good thing by sleeping with Reed's assistant/girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski; Gone Girl), and finds himself back once again with his old buddies "scrounging for scraps".  Forced to reevaluate his life, Cole finds inspiration and his "beat" in the most unlikely of places and ends up, with the help of Reed, DJ-ing the gig of his life and killing it in the process. 

Efron is very good as Cole and gives a real substance to the character.  His exchanges with Ratajkowski are thoughtful and the two have a chemistry that comes across well on screen.  Bentley plays Reed with just enough arrogance to make him cocky but still somewhat likable.  The rest of the cast does a good job with an extra nod for a job well done to Alex Shafer (The Lifeguard) as Squirrel, Cole's slightly more mature and philosophical member of the group of friends.

Directing his first major feature film, Max Joseph (Catfish: The TV show) shows some of his inexperience.  He uses so many techniques in the story telling, it comes across as if he was trying too hard.  The close ups were effective, but used too liberally, and the animated, melting paint meant to depict a PCP trip came across cartoonish and psychotic which was really distracting.  While I liked the explanation of the "Science of DJ-ing", I found Joseph's choice of what seemed liked YouTube fodder, to be kind of sophomoric.

Based on the trailer, I didn't have high hopes for the film, but I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  There was a real story behind Cole and his friends that depicted the struggle younger adults have trying to "find themselves" in the world.  The trailer promoted this film as a club/partying group of guys out to have a good time, but it was so much more with relatable stories and, of course, some tragedy thrown in.

While We Are Your Friends tries to put a modern twist on the classic  "finding yourself" films, I think my generation's St. Elmo's Fire did it better and I don't think this movie will be remembered the way the latter film is 30 years later.

Entertaining as it is, and with some good acting thrown in, I think We Are Your Friends misses the mark in some aspects and won't be a blockbuster in theaters.  Grade: C+


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Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, and Max Joseph Interview
Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, and Max Joseph Interview
Join FlickDirect correspondent, Allison Hazlett, as she talk to the Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, and Max Joseph from We Are Your Friends about the coming-of-age struggles and music."We Are Your ...