We Are Your Friends Review
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DJs are supposed to be the life of the party. They’re the ones who get people’s hearts racing and bodies moving—who bring people together out on the dance floor. Yet, somehow, director Max Joseph manages to turn his DJ movie, We Are Your Friends, into something surprisingly serious—and even depressing.

We Are Your Friends stars Zac Efron as Cole Carter, an ambitious young DJ who dreams of fame, fortune, and the one great track that will make his career. Until then, though, he and his friends are stuck doing odd jobs, trying to scrape together just enough money to get by.

When Cole meets superstar DJ James Reed (Wes Bentley), he finally finds the help and support that he needs to get his big break. But as he works to put tracks together, he’s distracted by his attraction to his new friend’s girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski).

You might expect a movie about an aspiring DJ to be a wild musical romp: raucous parties, driving beats, and the occasional touches of an entertaining story to fill in the gaps. And that’s exactly how We Are Your Friends begins: with a bunch of reckless party boys from the Valley who are thoroughly enjoying their destructive behavior. At times, the film goes a little too deep into the science and biology of being a DJ, and it feels more like a flashy instructional video than a feature film—but at least it’s still mildly entertaining.

After a while, though, everything begins to fall apart. The music takes a backseat to love triangles, shady business associations, and the characters’ sheer desperation. It simply takes itself way too seriously—and what should be a fun-filled adventure through clubs and house parties soon turns dismal and depressing, with sad, pathetic characters attempting to preach life lessons to one another between hangovers.

Much like the original Magic Mike, We Are Your Friends is darker and more dramatic than you’d expect—but it doesn’t have the talented cast or lovable characters to back it up. Once the music is turned down and the story takes its dark turn, it becomes all too clear that there’s not much left to like. The characters are superficial, self-absorbed, and generally clueless—and as they struggle to succeed, audiences might struggle to care.

Of course, if you’re especially drawn to electronic dance music or Zac Efron, the film does have some worthwhile moments. And if you’re an aspiring DJ, you may learn a few lessons along the way. But it’s most likely the gloomiest party movie you’ll see this year.

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