There was a time in my life when a movie like We Are Your Friends would have made me furious. It’s a movie about a pretty boy club DJ (High School Musical‘s Zac Efron) and his mopey quest to dominate the EDM scene.
See, I started working in radio from a really young age. I fancied myself a musicologist, because I knew bands like Lazlo Bane and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Crooked Fingers when my friends were listening to whatever pop country bullshit was on the radio. I loathed Brittney Spears and New Radicals and any other artists who’s fame I considered the result of marketing and studio tricks. Techno music (as it was called in ye olden days of 1997) was a fucking abomination in my eyes.
I still like indie rock okay. I still hate pop country bullshit. I can spot production tricks and marketing positions better than ever. I’m just older now. I have other stuff going on in my life, and I’m okay with people that I like and respect liking music that I don’t. Music doesn’t define who I am anymore.
All that being said, We Are Your Friends still makes me angry. It’s not because it offends some strong emotional connection I have to pop culture. It’s because We Are Your Friends is a stupid and boring movie.
We follow our hero Cole (Efron) and his friends who I could never distinguish from one another. They’re losers living in the San Fernando Valley. But they have dreams, damn it, and they’re going to make it out.
Cole is a low level club DJ. I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be good or not. There’s no real definitive answer. One night Cole meets James Reed (The Hunger Games’ Wes Bently), a DJ on top of the world. He lives in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. He drives a Lamborghini. He’s everything Cole wants to be, and wouldn’t you know it, James takes the little scamp under his wing to teach him about the soul and truth that exists in EDM music that dipshits like me just can’t see.
James’ assistant/girlfriend (Gone Girl‘s Emily Ratajkowski) hates him, and identifies with Cole’s depression and desire to better his situation. You guessed it. She and Cole end up sleeping together and Cole ruins his chance to be James’ protege…or does he?
You know how these movies work.
Dan Patrick said on his radio show back in 2000-something that 8 Mile fancied itself the “Rocky of hip hop.” Well, We Are Your Friends fancies itself the 8 Mile of the EDM world.
God damn, does this movie so desperately want to be raw and honest. It doesn’t shy away from the fact that that EDM scene is filled with superficial, doped-up posers. Director Max Joseph may argue that his feature debut is being honest and not shying away from its flawed setting, but what he has actually done is made it impossible to give a shit about any of his characters.
It’s easy to keep track of who Efron, Bentley and Ratajkowski are, because you’ve seen them before. Their faces are familiar. Every other sheer white tank top and chin beard just gets lost in the crowd.
We Are Your Friends is a garbage movie made to give garbage people validation that their life experience is something other than garbage. That’s a strong statement, but I’ll stand by it. If you are into the EDM scene, you are an idiot and nothing you say or think has any value. Please go buy another neon jelly bracelet, pop another handful of mushrooms and stop talking to me about what it means to be alive.
MY GRADE: D-