Genuine values occasionally surface in the tepid, noncommittal drama “We Are Your Friends.” Yet for the most part, its characters move through their shallow lives in a party-craving stupor from which even the forceful intrusion of love and death barely awakens them.
The movie doesn’t actively promote wrongdoing, nor do its inhabitants consciously embrace vice. Instead, both adhere to ethical assumptions driven by the longstanding Hollywood myth that the greatest of human aspirations is to have a good time.
Aiming to secure that state of bliss, both for himself and others, is the aspiring disc jockey Cole (Zac Efron). Cole’s idea of personal success involves producing electronic music so captivating that it will transfix the crowd at a rave.
Cole’s ambition gets a boost when he befriends established groove maker James (Wes Bentley). But the rapidly flourishing relationship between mentor and protégé is threatened when Cole falls for James’ much-younger live-in girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski).
James’ fondness for the bottle and his heedless womanizing open the way for a betrayal. Yet it’s implied that, whatever she may or may not choose to do with her body, for the time being at least, Sophie’s affections remain fixed on James.
The fact that Cole acknowledges as much is, in its own way, weirdly chivalrous. Yet it also demonstrates the degree to which the idea of sex entirely untethered from any form of commitment (much less marriage) is readily accepted by all concerned.
Cole and his trio of best friends since childhood also team up with shady real estate operator Paige (Jon Bernthal), who offers the naive pals lucrative jobs helping him rescue cash-strapped homeowners.
Though it takes Cole a while to recognize Paige as nothing more than a timely villain, the wrap-up sees him moving in the direction of romantic stability and towards a heartfelt, self-sacrificing concern for others as well.
Party on, dude.
The film contains benignly viewed drug use, cohabitation and premarital relations, brief semi-graphic bedroom scenes, upper female nudity, a couple of profanities and pervasive rough and crude language. (L, R).