Sunday, September 6, 2015

Movie Review #304: "We Are Your Friends" (2015)

Movie"We Are Your Friends"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: Max Joseph
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
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Cole (Zac Efron) is aspiring DJ from the San Fernando Valley. He promotes local clubs with his friends on Thursday nights. One night, a popular named DJ James (Wes Bentley) is headlining an event promoted by Cole and his friends. James runs into Cole behind the club and he invites Cole to a party at his house. From there, James helps Cole further his DJing, giving pointers on how to launch his career. Everything seems to be working well for Cole, until his feelings for James' girlfriend/assistant Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) get in the way. 

Oh, the plight of the young, white male!

Finally! A movie for EDM fans that will inspire all young, aspiring laptop DJs! Said no one ever!!

Yes, you too can make it, even if you're a super-douche from the ratchet San Fernando Valley!! Only if anyone cared!!

Zac Efron plays Cole, an aspiring laptop DJ. He and his obviously loser friends have big plans and dreams to make it rich one day, but for now, they make money by promoting for local clubs, passing out flyers and talking up whatever act is playing to young, hot college girls and their friends. The club owners allow Cole to DJ in their side rooms before the headliner goes on, and it's one night after DJing to a dead side room Cole gets the best break he's ever had. He runs into the headlining DJ James, played by Wes Bentley, AKA the "best" part of this awful movie, behind the club, and James invites him to a party at his place where he proceeds to give a PCP-laced joint to an unsuspecting Cole as they dance the night away to shitty electronic music and turn into animated rotoscope cartoon characters a la "A Scanner Darkly" for an unknown and never again seen reason. James then takes Cole under his wing and gives him pointers on how to improve his music, telling him that music should be "real" and "organic," you know, as opposed to the aforementioned shitty laptop-constructed stuff. Finally, everything looks like it's on the right path for Cole. He's hanging out with this rich and famous DJ (even though James is an alcoholic burnout), is sort of making money by working with a completely pointless character in Paige, played by Jon Bernthal, who is supposed to represent the middle finger to capitalism with his pyramid scheme type of business as he screws unsuspecting people out of their foreclosed homes and money. Cole has the best of both worlds: an 'in' with this rich DJ, and a way to still see his loser friends, the obvious reason why he hasn't gone anywhere in his life yet. On top of this, a forced romance is thrust upon us, and if Cole can keep his feelings for James' perpetually duck faced girlfriend/assistant Sophie, played by internet model Emily Ratajkowski, in check, he might just have everything he's ever wanted, that is, if his friends don't keep dragging him down to their loser level.

Honestly, writing this review makes us mad. Max Joseph, the screenwriter and director of this movie, has a lot going on and a lot he wants to say, but at the same time, he has absolutely nothing at all. The plot and its sub-plots are predictable from a mile away, but to call it predictable is an epic understatement. You know exactly what is going to happen the second the movie starts, every step of the way, and there are no surprises, not even the big tragedy they try to throw at audiences towards the end of the film. Despite being predictable, "We Are Your Friends" still manages to feel disjointed as there are scenes and scenarios that don't drive the plot very well, especially the drug scene. We know it is an attempt to represent Cole's drug trip by making it cartoony and animated, but it is so out of place it simply feels like a desperate attempt to be artsy. In fact, there is hardly a scene in the movie where people aren't high, smoking, or drinking to excess. This movie is a walking, ringing endorsement for drinking booze and taking drugs, and this is not even isolated to the PCP scene. Though it's rated-R, Max Joseph has made his living off of the angst of the American teenager with his show "Catfish," a reality show directed at teenagers and aired on MTV. It was the first film where I ever thought, "okay, those TRUTH advertisements before the movies? Those are directed at this very film." Joseph is the dealer the American youth never knew they had until it was too late, planted in their subconscious by a film representing young adult angst and an underdog triumph, oozing "cool" with characters who crave casual sex, hand-rolled spliffs, shiny, flashy cars, fake-looking women, and rippling, always accentuated muscles and breasts on beautiful people. In its attempt to feel fresh and new, a revitalized chorus of gung-ho for those who feel they fall into the disenfranchised millennials category, it really comes off as so phony, so overflowing, so try hard, and about 15 years too late. The film is poorly paced and drags quite a bit, especially when considering it's the same stupid plot being rehashed for an hour and 36 minutes. There are also a lot of technical mistakes, and maybe it would behoove Joseph to take another film class before he dives into his next movie of faux-despondency

 In the end, even if we were its intended target audience, we really don't and wouldn't care about any of the characters or their plight, because at the end of the day, we are not your friends, and this movie sucks.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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