There is a certain rhythm to coming-of-age movies, regardless of what age the characters are arriving at. First you get to see how reckless and carefree the person is. Then something tragic happens to them that makes them realize that something needs to change. Only then do they come out the other end as a better or more improved person. It’s a simple, three act arc that most films follow, and We Are Your Friends is no exception.
Cole (Zac Efron) is an up-and-coming DJ who has mostly been confined to playing the club his buddy Mason (Jonny Weston) promotes. All he needs is one track, he believes, to make it big. That opportunity comes when famed DJ James Reed (Wes Bentley) takes him under his wing to teach him what it takes to perform at the next level. Cole will have to ruffle a few feathers if he’s going to get to the heart of what makes people move to the rhythm of his music, however.
We Are Your Friends follows the coming-of-age arc, but with an electronica DJ beat. Cole and his friends Mason, Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez), and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer), are your typical party frat bros from the Valley who believe that they are destined for great things and will not be confined to some 9-to-5 desk job. Initially I didn’t like them and their cocky attitudes, but as the film went on I realized that they were decent guys who stood up for their friends. We were all young and stupid once, right?
Cole eventually becomes involved with James’ girlfriend/assistant Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) and his DJ career starts to unravel. It’s when he’s at his lowest point that he finds out what really matters most in life and can finally create that one track he’s been dreaming of. As you can probably guess, there are very few surprises in the film. It follows the same track other films in the genre have done before and hits the same beats.
What I enjoyed most about the film, though, is the music. I’m a big fan of electronic music, so We Are Your Friends is right up my alley. My favorite scene of the film is when Cole is DJing at one of James’ parties and he explains how he is going to get the crowd dancing through the beat of his music and how he’ll eventually match their heart rate to the rhythm. Now, I have no idea if any of what he says is true to how DJing works, but Efron’s performance makes you believe it regardless.
We Are Your Friends is predictable but entertaining. There’s a lot of flash a noise that you typically find in a Zac and Efron movie, but there’s also a heartfelt message at it’s center about being true to one’s self. Plus the music alone will get you moving in your seat.