Is this the movie where Zac Efron shows he’s a movie star? We are your Friends tells a story about the DJ scene in LA centered around Cole Carter and his four friends. This is also the feature film directorial debut of Max Joseph, co host of Catfish.
Efron has all the chops. It’s been hard for him to become a big box office draw after the Disney stench. He hasn’t picked bad projects of late. Neighbors was my favorite comedy of last year, and he’s in the upcoming Baywatch movie alongside The Rock. I’m a fan of Efron, I say Disney stench, but I grew up watching those High School Musical movies. Which shows my age. All in all, I’m pretty exited to see what Efron can bring to the table with Max Joseph behind the camera. Emily Ratajkoski stars in this as well and she is just a beauty queen, not tough to look at. Also in lesser roles are Jon Bernthal, Johnny Weston, and Wes Bently. The trailers for this movie were of the “music video” type, granted that seems to be what this movie will be, but let’s see how they mix that story in there.
This movie was very up and down for me. Let’s start with the ups. The directing is great here. In his directorial debut Max Joseph brings the city of LA to life with his visuals. I was very pleased to see how well this was shot. He also got solid performances out of his actors. Zac Efron, per usual is solid here as Cole Carter. The character of Cole isn’t particularly likable, but Zac brings that to the table every time. You don’t know why you find yourself rooting for him, but you do, more because it’s Zac Efron than Cole Carter. I understand that chasing your dreams is the big theme here, but that can’t be the only force driving home the humanity of these guys. All of his “entourage” are pretty cookie cutter, they have their moments, Johnny Weston being the best of the three. He doesn’t really have much to do.
The first two acts of this movie are really just trudging along. Nothing really happens, Cole meets James Dean (Wes Bently) a DJ who takes a liking to Cole and takes him under his wing. Then it’s just Cole playing shows as he starts to fall for Sophie (Emily Ratajkoski) James’s lady. You see that coming from a mile away and you know where that story will go.
That’s really the problem. The movie is very clichè and generic at its core. It’s the same coming of age story you’ve seen time after time. Zac Efron and the rest of the cast, as well as the direction, particularly in the third act which I enjoyed most of the three. Some of the plot is a bit contrived, but I could forgive that considering this is the writing and directorial debut of Max Joseph, with no prior feature film body of work this was not a bad start to a long career to say the least.
I can’t really send you out to the theater to see this movie, but if you catch it while surfing the channels it’s worth a watch. I got a kick out of it. I’m a big Efron fan, so seeing him do this same kind of role is a bit depressing, I hope he gets a little bit of better material next time out.