'We Are Your Friends'
Director: Max Joseph
Cast: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski, Jon Bernthal
A romantic drama centered around a young DJ, Cole (Zac Efron) who dreams about making it big on the electronic dance music circuit, this film has some great musical energy but the dramatic heft is just a little too off-key for comfort.
Watch the trailer of 'We Are Your Friends'
James (Wes Bentley) an established and popular disc jockey, decides to take Cole under his wings only to have him try and steal his girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) from right under his nose. So the fracture in the bonhomie between the mentor and the protégé was quite to be expected.
'We Are Your Friends' tries hard to be more than just about dance/electronic music and has quite a cool, instructive exposition about getting people into an electric mood and synchronizing heart rates with a pulsing beats-per-minute track. Cole and his bro-gang find day jobs with an unscrupulous mortgage company- a tool used to delve deeper into weighing the money vs. morals ambit. But it ultimately boils down to the 'ignorance is bliss' sentiment eventually.
Max Joseph makes his feature directing debut with a screenplay he wrote with Meaghan Oppenheimer. The cold-calling gigs seem to belong in another film, some details are dropped in and left dangling (such as Cole's living arrangement or decision not to go to college) and others such as keeping thousands of dollars in cash in a shoebox under a bed are just silly. It's also too Southern California-centric and that includes the topless women in a swimming pool.
EDM a.k.a Electronic Dance Music has it's takers despite it's synthetic trappings but will those late teens to early twenties target group venture out into the cinemas to hear it, is questionable- especially when this kind of music is meant to get you tapping your feet not sitting cooped up in a theatre seat hoping you were somewhere else. This film, directed by Max Joseph from a script by the director himself and Meaghan Oppenheimer, based on a story by producer Richard Silverman, goes from peppy with some nice relatable undercurrents to clichéd cipher territory. The graphic design tropes and animation mix is visually quite intoxicating but the high doesn't last as long as the story takes to wind itself into several knots. The beats per minute pulse is pretty strong but the connect is missing for most of the run time. Joseph obviously knows about EDM given that he recently helmed a documentary about EDM production, so the casual name dropping ( Buchla Synthesiser, Juan Atkins etc etc.)was to be expected.
While the bass pulsates with electric fervor the dramatics just fizzles into a lot of confusion. Character dynamics are unremarkable while performances just don't have the bite to get you involved. And the Bro-coterie angle( Cole's friends who tag along) is quite tiresome to say the least. Wes Bentley and Emily Ratajkowski make their presence felt, though!