Granger on Movies: ‘We Are Your Friends’
Published 1:44 pm, Friday, September 11, 2015
Disappointing, low-budget romantic dramas like this are why the August/September period is known as a dumping ground.
Circulating on the L.A. club scene, Cole (Zac Efron), an ambitious 23-year-old music producer, wants to make it as a DJ in the world of raves and electronic dance music (EDM). He pals around with his San Fernando Valley buddies (Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez and Alex Schaffer).
“If you’re a DJ,” he says in voiceover, “all you need is a laptop, some talent and one track.”
Cole’s big break comes when he meets an arrogant, successful DJ named James Reed (Wes Bentley), who becomes his mentor, observing: “You’re trying to be too many different people. Imitation is suicide — Emerson said that.”
Not surprisingly, 36-year-old Reed has a gorgeous, much younger girlfriend/personal assistant, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). Reed seems to encourage their friendship, saying they should go out and “talk about your millennial angst.”
But when a deeper relationship begins to become established, Cole suffers Reed’s wrath.
Joseph’s primary problem is casting. While Zac Efron (“Neighbors”) has established himself as a teen heartthrob, he exhibits little charisma and — let’s face it — Emily Ratajkowski (“Entourage”) is, basically, a beautiful model whose breasts bounce in slow-motion. She’s a sex object here, and whatever acting talent she possesses has yet to be developed.
Only Wes Bentley’s character seems to develop and change, but why did Joseph make him look so much like Wolverine from “X-Men”?
Insofar as the energetic music scene goes, it seems authentic. But I’m not sure I’d know if it wasn’t. I did learn that good DJs synchronize heart rates with throbbing beats-per-minute tracks.
FYI: Joseph glamorizes drug-use, depicting Cole and Sophie enjoying MDMA, along with PCP and marijuana.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “We Are Your Friends” is a pulsating 4. It’s sensory overload.