Well apparently all you need is ‘a laptop, some talent and one track’ to make it as a big time, world famous DJ, so Cole Carter tells us anyway. But we all know there is a little (or a lot) more to it than that despite the We Are Your Friends motto.
We Are Your Friends tells the story of Cole Carter, a wannabe DJ with no money, rippling abs and a likening to Zac Efron. Of course there is a little love thrown in and a few bros before…. well you know, moments. Cole struggles to find the road to DJ fame and fortune in a world where almost anyone can be a DJ.
Directed by Catfish’s own Max Joseph, WAYF is his feature film-directing debut. Co-written by Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer with story by Richard Silverman, We Are Your Friends takes a reverent look at the life of a dreamer.
Zac Efron plays Cole, the passionate DJ looking for his big break. Efron, as usual has all the charm to knock you right off your seat, but he also offers an emotional unease that makes his performance kind of memorable. Pairing Efron with Emily Ratajkowski was a casting revelation as the two have some lightening chemistry and youthful buzz about them.
Wes Bently has that Wes Bently kookiness which works really well here. Unfortunately for Bently, his character James, was really underdeveloped. As the sell-out/washed-up middle-aged DJ character, it was a struggle to truthfully follow his character development and understand his flip-flopping motivations. As the story progressed, his incentives for helping our protagonist aren’t clear and never eventuate, leaving you confused about what could happen – will they bro hug and be besties for life or will he pull out a machete and go to town?
Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez and Alex Shaffer played the other members of the San Fernando Valley motely crew. The gang as a whole were really natural when they interacted with each other but again, a little underdevelopment may have let them down just a tad.
But even though they promise their friendship in the title, these people aren’t your friends. They are a rag tag bunch of pretty people that seem to have what they need and get what they want. They aren’t exactly the kind of people that even really exist let alone ones you would ever want to chill with.
On the technical side, there is a slight (to gross) over use of artsy camera techniques and perhaps a little self-indulgent lean on the post effects. If you don’t liken to the whole Catfish-style hand held camera thing, be prepared because Max is at it again.
Despite some unfavourable reviews, We Are Your Friends has real value as the creative team really stuck to their own vision. They saw what they wanted and didn’t let the Hollywood blockbuster train run all over it.
Be prepared for a film that is not what it seems and has a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. Leave your anticipations at the door and make up your own mind on this one – there is something here, we just can’t decide what.