WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS – Review by Susan Granger

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Disappointing, low-budget romantic dramas like this are why the August/September period is known as a dumping ground. Read more>>

Circulating on the L.A. club scene, Cole (Zac Efron), an ambitious 23 year-old music producer, wants to make it as a DJ in the world of raves and electronic dance music (EDM). He pals around with his San Fernando Valley buddies (Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Schaffer).

“If you’re a DJ,” he says in voiceover, “all you need is a laptop, some talent and one track.”

Cole’s big break comes when he meets an arrogant, successful DJ named James Reed (Wes Bentley), who becomes his mentor, observing: “You’re trying to be too many different people. Imitation is suicide – Emerson said that.”

Not surprisingly, 36 year-old Reed has a gorgeous, much younger girlfriend/personal assistant, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). Reed seems to encourage their friendship, saying they should go out and “talk about your millennial angst.”

But when a deeper relationship begins to become established, Cole suffers Reed’s wrath.

Max Joseph (producer/host of MTV’s “Catfish”) makes his directorial debut, working from a facile, formulaic screenplay he wrote with Meaghan Oppenheimer from a story by Richard Silverman.

Joseph’s primary problem is casting. While Zac Efron (“Neighbors”) has established himself as a teen heartthrob, he exhibits little charisma and – let’s face it – Emily Ratajkowski (“Entourage”) is, basically, a beautiful model whose breasts bounce in slow-motion. She’s a sex object here, and whatever acting talent she possesses has yet to be developed.

Only Wes Bentley’s character seems to develop and change, but why did Joseph make him look so much like Wolverine from “X-Men”?

Insofar as the energetic music scene goes, it seems authentic. But I’m not sure I’d know if it wasn’t. I did learn that good DJs synchronize heart rates with throbbing beats-per-minute tracks.

FYI: Joseph glamorizes drug-use, depicting Cole and Sophie enjoying MDMA, along with PCP and marijuana.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “We Are Your Friends” is a pulsating 4. It’s sensory overload.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.