I know that almost every single person who saw the trailer that had any connections with the world of music was bothered by the trailer for this film. “To be a DJ, all you need is a laptop, SOME talent, and one track. That one track is your ticket to stardom”. Twitter erupted. Everyone was up in arms over this statement.
I wasn’t. I am a DJ myself. And honestly, that’s all you do need to get started. The rest comes later. To be a PRODUCER, however…that’s a different story altogether. What I will say is that We Are Your Friends is not the film that everyone is expecting it to be. I think the haters will be pleasantly surprised.
Cole Carter (Zac Efron) dropped out of school and left home at age 15. He’s living in the pool house of his buddy’s parent’s home, managing to get by while performing lackluster shows in the side-room of a popular night club, while the headliner takes all of the fame. “I think he’s just giving the people what they want,” Carter remarks towards the beginning of the movie when watching the headliner play to a packed house.
Cole later meets this same DJ after the show, behind the venue while smoking a cigarette. You know, how it always happens. They talk, and James (Wes Bentley) invites him out to an L.A. party where, in a rather humorous moment, drugs are brought into the picture. He wakes up twelve hours later in James’ home, where he sees his girlfriend, the beautiful Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). I can’t say much more without giving things away, but she’s a crucial part of the story.
Anyway, James eventually wants to hear Cole’s music. He plays him a track, with James making no effort to hide how much he thinks it sucks. After playing a pool party at his house, however, James notices the way that Cole is able to read a crowd, and immediately brings him into his studio to work with him. Much like Cole has the ability to get the crowd to step out of their comfort zones, James intends to get him to do just that with the production of his first track.
While there are a few minor plot holes towards the end, I was impressed. For a directorial feature film debut (Max Joseph, who also co-wrote the screenplay), I was satisfied. No it wasn’t perfect, but I was satisfied. Efron and Ratajkowsi surprised me with their roles in the film. I was taken aback by how good their chemistry was during their screen time, particularly the Vegas montage (a rather beautiful moment).
The best part of this film is the closing track. I can’t say anymore, as it will give away one of the biggest aspects of the plot, yet it was my favorite moment. But I will say this: music is about honesty. Fans can tell right away if something is fabricated bullshit. We Are Your Friends does a fantastic job at explaining this, and showing that real music comes from your life, your personal experiences, and not from just trying to copy what someone else does and capitalize on it.
I’m a big fan of dance music, and despite what others have said about it after seeing only the trailer, I think they’re going to shut up once they actually watch the feature. To clear up some controversy, I will say this: Other genres of dance music are touched upon in the film; house and electro are not the sole focus of the movie. And no, 128 BPM is not the only BPM referenced. It’s not a narrow-minded film. Give it a chance. You might really like it.
Unless you’re Deadmau5. Then you’ll probably hate it. (Sorry, Joel.)
We Are Your Friends opens everywhere today, nationwide. For more on ticketing, show times, and box office information, visit www.fandango.com
This has been another Shameless Promotion.