With a trailer that does little to clear up this flick’s narrative intentions—I did understand that Zac Efron was a DJ—We Are Your Friends is a pedestrian movie that will inspire little rejection or praise. ZEfron is Cole Carter, an aspiring DJ playing the club scene with his pals—obvious hothead Mason (Jonny Weston), pretty boy/wannabe actor Ollie (younger, prettier Joaquin, Shiloh Fernandez) and the sweet kid nicknamed Squirrel (Alex Shaffer). Then Cole meets a successful, older DJ (Wes “Evil Adam Scott” Bentley), who mentors him and provides his younger protégé with a girlfriend-cum-personal assistant (Emily Ratajkowski, the “Blurred Lines” beauty recently seen in the Entourage movie).
You really do know where this movie, the feature-directing debut of MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show” co-host Max Joseph (yes, Nev has a brief cameo), is going. Max, as I know him from “Catfish,” does a few interesting bits, including an animated drug trip, but most of the movie’s beats, narrative and visual, are overly familiar. And why does it suddenly become Wolf of Wall Street? Wait, now it has a Saturday Night Fever.
Sure, Efron is very, very pretty, but watching him mix tracks is a digital-age version of watching paint dry. The DJ Theory 101 scene is far more interesting than the music creation, and don’t get me started on how Cole finds his revelatory sound. We Are Your Friends recounts way too specific a moment in time and place. So did Saturday Night Fever, but it was a cultural zeitgeist. We Are Your Friends already feels like a relic.