Zac Efron and Emily Ratajkowski are both extremely attractive people who seem better suited to modeling than acting. They give empty portrayals as empty characters in an empty film, but at least the music is good. We Are Your Friends is about characters who don’t really seem like they would be friends in real life. They have very little in common, and their goals are superficial: fame, fortune, and a good time.
In the San Fernando Valley, four friends have hopes for a better life. Cole Carter (Zac Efron) wants to be a DJ, Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) wants to be an actor, and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer), and Mason (Jonny Weston) hope to come along for the ride. The friends try to make a little money at a local nightclub, but nothing really works until Cole meets a famous DJ, James (Wes Bentley), and starts getting some expert advice. Meanwhile, the friends begin working for a shady real estate broker (Jon Bernthal), and at the same time, Cole becomes attracted to James’ girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). If he’s going to be a success, Cole must learn to embrace what’s real in his life and put it into his music.
This could have been a great party movie, if it weren’t so lethargic and distracted, or it could have been an inspirational musical if it weren’t so lifeless. It borrows just about every plot twist from other movies, and even if Cole’s eventual musical creation is exciting, the conceit behind it is stale. Everything rests on the shoulders of Efron, with his blank expression (he looks the same attending a funeral and playing music), and Ratajkowski, with her posed, pursed lips. Still, it’s likely that more accomplished actors would have made this shallow material much worse.