Get your wristbands on and put your drinks up: We Are Your Friends is the underdog story you didn’t know you were waiting for.
Set in the world of Electronic Dance Music, better known as EDM, We Are Your Friends tells the story of aspiring DJ Cole Carter (Zac Efron). Cole and his three best friends – Ollie the struggling actor (Shiloh Fernandez), Mason the money man (Jonny Weston) and Squirrel the soft-spoken voice of reason (Alex Shaffer) – are searching for their ticket out of the San Fernando Valley and into stardom.
For Cole, it’s that magical “one track” that’s just out of reach until he meets famous DJ James Reed (Wes Bently) at a Hollywood club night. In a move that surprises no one, James takes Cole under his wing and teaches him the way of the turntables. It seems like a match made in heaven, until James’ gorgeous personal assistant/girlfriend Sophie enters the picture. Cue forbidden love!
Zac Efron is best when he plays bros with layers. Like his frat-house character in Neighbors, Efron’s Cole is revealed to have yearnings beyond his immediate surroundings. He wishes to help those in need, find love and connect with the world at 128 BPM. Cole is relatable to millennials struggling to find their identity. Plus Efron takes off his shirt seven times (spoiler alert), so something else to look forward to.
We Are Your Friends, the directorial debut of Max Joseph (MTV’s Catfish: The TV Show) is entertainingly paint-by numbers. The story is predictable and the characters are committed to drawing you into their world. Wes Bently is terrific as James the damaged DJ. Ollie, Shiloh and Squirrel are all one-note, but propel Cole’s story forward. I just wish that there was more for Emily Ratajkowski’s Sophie to do. She ultimately becomes a plot-device for the two DJs to have an inevitable falling out. Cue beat drop!
This EDM trip won’t stick with you once you come down, but enjoy the ride while you’re on it. We Are Your Friends opens in theatres on Friday, August 28, and I rate it 3 out of 5 raindrops.