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Review: We Are Your Friends

We Are Your Friends
08.27.2015
1 10

PLOT: An aspiring DJ (Zac Efron) and his buddies try to get rich in L.A without doing any real work.

REVIEW: Call me crazy, but I actually went into WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS kind-of optimistic. While not a huge EDM fan, to me it seemed that the people involved with this were trying to make a real zeitgeist-tapping party movie like SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER or FLASHDANCE and it's been while since someone gave that a real try. And yes – try they did but co-writer-director Max Joseph has failed horribly with this bone-headed, idiotic romp that sets a new-low for just how bad late-August wide-releases can be.

There are so many things wrong with WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS that I barely know where to start. It would take an extra-long episode of How Did This Get Made to really do the idiocy on display here justice. At it's worst, this should have simply been a dumb party movie but Joseph's first film goes so hopelessly awry at times that I'd say the only silver lining is that it's truly a laugh-a-minute, which would be a good thing if this were a comedy and not so achingly sincere.

While he hasn't exactly blown me away with any of his screen-work, I have no problems with Zac Efron. Sure, he's pretty but to give this guy his due he seems exceedingly confident in front of the camera and has a kind of easy charisma that just screams movie-star. Given the right role, he could really amount to something. But, given something as thinly written as this he flounders, badly. For one thing, Efron and his “boys” are so utterly douchey and bro-y (especially the obnoxious Jonny Weston who makes ENTOURAGE's Drama look like James Bond) that you'll spend the movie laughing at how naive and dumb they are rather than rooting for them to get ahead. The big conflict here seems to be Efron having to choose between taking the easy cash route with his pals working for a crooked real-estate shark (Jon Bernthal) or focusing on his “music” which actually looks way more fun. Rather than do any work he just hangs with Wes Bentley as the older (meaning thirty) industry vet and makes eyes at Emily Ratjkowski – whose wardrobe seems to have cost in the tens of thousands but complains about not being able to afford going back to school.

The romantic plot, where Efron falls for Ratjkowski, despite her being Bentley's live-in girlfriend, lands with a thud. Both are gorgeous, but the cutesy romance is so phony that it's hard to believe anyone will be even remotely invested in them winding up together, which is good as the filmmakers seem disinterested too – with her being off-screen for much of the third act. What makes this pale next to something like SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER is that it lacks the courage to actually make Efron's character be any kind of opportunist, with Joseph demanding the audience like him throughout by constantly cutting to Efron's watery blue-eyes suggesting “inner torment.” It doesn't help that he's made out to be so stupid, with him telling Ratjkowski what a waste of time school is and somehow assuming Bernthal is honest despite the fact that he pays him in bags of cash. Whoops.

However, what really makes WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS abysmal is how minor a component music is. I went in knowing nothing about EDM and and walked out knowing nothing other than that it looks like it's fun to take drugs to (also – apparently PCP now turns you into a cartoon – I didn't know this was now considered one of the “fun” drugs). There seems to be no interest on the part of the filmmakers in exploring the EDM world or subculture beyond presenting it in a way that makes the movie look like a 100-minute commercial for MDMA. WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS tries to take a darker turn later in the film in an effort to “get real” but the results are hilariously inept and seem like the result of a desperate last minute studio note from execs asking them to make drugs seem less cool.  

In the end, WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS is truly one of the dumbest studio films to come along since the days of FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY or SUPERCROSS: THE MOVIE. I can't believe the normally spot-on Working Title Films produced this but hey, no one's perfect. Hopefully for Efron's sake this will be quickly forgotten as this is about as dire as movie-going gets. This is only worth-watching out of morbid curiosity and even then, I couldn't advocate actually spending any money on this trash.

Source: JoBlo.com

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