That was a short article, we’re done here.

Just kidding. Today we’re here to talk about the movie about Zac Effron, Bald Crazy Guy, Sort of Johnny Depp and Squirrel, four lifelong friends who grew up in the Valley and are no at various stages of ‘hustling’. Sort of Johnny Depp wants to be an actor, Bald Crazy Guy wants to be a promoter, Zac Effron is a DJ and Squirrel has a car. What happens next is basically the story of Zac Effron’s rise to becoming a somewhat notable DJ.

I remember when this movie came out I couldn’t help but pretty much laugh directly into my stupid TV’s face. The idea of basing a whole movie about the fictitious rise of a DJ seemed so ridiculous and somehow that it starred Zac Effron was an extra punchline.

I think we’re pretty safely in the area where we all know that “being a DJ” is basically a joke aspiration these days. I like to think we’re at the stage where we have identified that a DJ and an electronic music producer are not the same thing. This movie doesn’t really seem to care, and Zac Effron seems to at least make some of the music that he plays during the film. It’s all terrible though, the music is all terrible.

Except for the title track, which the movie totally blows its wad by playing in basically the first scene.

Let’s start off with my history with the song that gave this movie its title. “We Are Your Friends” is a remix by French electro duo Justice of a track that was originally called “Never Be Alone” by a British band called Simian. It came out in 2006. It is a great song. It has a great music video. If you were at all into the electro party scene of 2006 you are fully aware that this track would come up at just about every DJ night going at the time. For real, it has a great music video.


This movie is not as good as that video.

However, it was on Netflix, and I was on vacation, so I was going to see it through. It took about 3 sittings for us to make it all the way through this thing, and I’ve got to say, it could have been a lot worse.

Zac Effron meets Hot Girl after spinning at a side room for a club that Bald Crazy Guy promotes at, she blow him off. Later that night he gets invited to a party by the headliner, Guy From American Horror Story, hereafter referred to as “Big DJ”. Big DJ slips him some PCP, we get some rotoscoped animation effects and Zac Effron wakes up in Big DJ’s house the next day, plays his track for him and fails to impress him. Also, he meets Hot Girl again and it turns out she’s dating Big DJ.

But wait, Big DJ invites Zack Effron to spin at a private pool party! So he doesn’t hate him after all. Also, Zac Effron narrates exactly how a DJ is basically a wizard who can tap into the heart and soul of a crowd and cause beautiful shared experiences through sonic sorcery. This actually a shortened version of the scene to give you an idea of how serious business DJ’ing is:

What follows is basically the romance that emerges between Zac Effron and Big DJ. The movie tries to pretend that there’s a romance going on between Zac Effron and Hot Girl, but the movie reads better if you ignore that and just accept the reality that it is about the two DJs falling in love.

A few things happen. Namely, Zac Effron sleeps with Hot Girl so Big DJ basically breaks up with him. Then, Bald Crazy Guy rents a house for the four best friends and then SQUIRREL DIES.

That’s right, the character I’ve only mentioned once until now dies because he did too many drugs.

Don’t do drugs.

For real, this entire movie basically spends it’s run time glorifying drugs and there are no consequences and everyone is just having a great time. Zac Effron has the best time when he does that PCP at the beginning, and the hookup between him and Hot Girl is amplified by ecstasy. There are literally no downsides to drugs for the whole thing until all of a sudden it remembers that this is a fluff American movie starring Zac Effron about DJing so it grows a conscience and kills off a minor character in an overdose.

Oh, also the Punisher is around in this movie and he’s a scumbag he offers people nearly nothing for their foreclosed homes. I guess he’s supposed to be the bad guy or something.

Anyhow, the film occasionally remembers to show us Zac Effron using his phone to record bits of conversations and ambient sounds surrounding him. With Squirrel dead, Big DJ not talking to him and inexplicably Hot Girl also giving him the cold shoulder, Zac Effron finds the inspiration to lay out his one great track.

Zac Effron calls up Big DJ and is like “sorry I banged Hot Girl, my friend is dead,  I recorded this song can we be friends again?” and Big DJ is like “ok lover, good song, you can now open for me at a big festival.”

In a hilarious bit of unintended irony, the theme of the track is “Are we ever going to be better than this?” and uses a sample of when Squirrel says this to Zac Effron talking about how bullshit all of their lives collectively are.

Zac Effron picks up a mic and screams to the crowd “Are we ever going to be better than this?”

The movie is asking you, the viewer, if the movie is every going to be better than this. No, it is not.

Look, this movie isn’t that bad. Like, it’s terrible, but not so terrible that it’s unwatchable. I actually had so much fun watching this that with the right group of people I would even watch it again. I don’t really know who this movie was made for, but it seems to be almost precisely made for me to make fun of. So in that way, it’s a success.

It is a perfect movie for me, Keith, to make fun of.


Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.