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#WAYF Reviews

Positive End of Spectrum

THR
That brings us to Efron, who has overcome distractingly dreamy looks and that sticky High School Musical stigma to become a credible leading man — with none of the convulsive Method fussiness of some of his peers — and an asset to most of his projects (from auteur-driven works like Richard Linkater’s Me and Orson Welles, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy and Rahmin Bahrani’s At Any Price to mainstream fare like Hairspray and Neighbors). Efron moves and speaks with the easy grace of the beautiful, but there’s a naturalness, a lack of vanity or self-consciousness, to his acting. In We Are Your Friends, he underplays to perfection, putting us on Cole's side without pandering.

Variety
Still, there’s no denying that the star’s hard-to-resist appeal will draw mainstream eyes and ears to a picture that would rather spin an accessible underdog yarn than tap into the more resonant specifics of its milieu.

Still, it’s hard to scoff too long or too hard at Efron, an infernally watchable screen presence who has never needed a drum machine to make your heart throb, and whose effortless eye-candy presence here has just the right level of dramatic reverb. He and Bentley achieve a believable rapport — by turns realistically tetchy and mutually protective — and you long for their characters to veer away from the conventional trappings of rivalry and conflict, and instead to find a tougher, less tidy emotional core.

AP
Regardless of your taste for pulsing electronic music or actor Zac Efron, both are undeniably appealing in this feature debut from director and co-writer Max Joseph. [...] And Efron brings such heart to the main character, he's easy to root for.

Efron brings warm accessibility to Cole. Ratajkowski is so beautiful, she'd devour her scenes even if she said nothing at all (which she almost does). If only young-adult angst really looked and sounded this good.

Vanity Fair
Zac Efron hurts so good. Wait. Let me rephrase that so it doesn’t sound dirty. What I mean is, Zac Efron, an actor of seemingly limited range, has some innate, wholly beguiling quality about him that tends to only come to the surface when whatever character he’s playing is suffering. In Charlie St. Cloud and The Lucky One, those glass-blue eyes of his positively glowed, all watery and sad, and emotions those movies weren’t otherwise able to conjure up were suddenly present, immediate, affecting. And in Neighbors, all of Efron’s cocky frat-boy swagger couldn’t mask an intriguing darkness, a deep pain mingling fascinatingly with anger, which Efron best communicated through mere changes in facial expression and posture. Perhaps in response to his almost laughable, cartoonish good looks, Efron has become an adept physical actor; with his dancer’s grace and smoldering, melancholy gazes, there is—and I realize this is sort of ridiculous to say—an air of Buster Keaton about him.

One problem with Neighbors was that it required too much of the less captivating side of Efron: the jovial, good-times persona that always seems forced. But in his latest film, the D.J.-ing drama (and yes, it really is a drama) We Are Your Friends, Efron gets to spend the bulk of his time looking hungry and despondent, a look that’s good on him, that really works. The Efron factor, and the film’s confident sense of style, make We Are Your Friends, directed by Max Joseph, co-host and cameraman for the Catfish TV series, a more than interesting late-August curio; a sad, millennial meditation on ambition and aimlessness.

We Are Your Friends is similar, only perhaps a bit bleaker, even, with drugs and death blurting into the story, and Efron’s curious, fascinating performance at the center. We Are Your Friends is fun, but it thrums in lower frequencies than one might expect, based on the trailers, anyway.

Efron plays that inner yearning without too many big strokes—often hamstrung by his theater-y cadence and delivery, Efron has learned to get quieter, to put those oft-commented-about features of his to good use. Cole’s ache grows in tandem with the movie’s intensity, until he finally reaches something like that moment of nirvana. But in that moment, instead of giving us something cornily triumphant, with a lot of fist pumping and self-satisfied grins, Cole cries. Efron cries.

Village Voice
Yet Efron, one of our best young actors, gives the movie more than it needs: if not quite gravitas, an emotional tempo. Forget Ratajkowski's x-rayed mammaries — it's Efron who's all heart. Even when he smiles, his blue eyes look like they're leaking tears.

At his lowest point, what a DJ would call The Drop, Cole confesses to James that he might be a bad person. But, like Braddock, he's a buoyant screw-up — the audience is on his side even if the film isn't.

Time Out
Cole just wants to express himself, and Efron taps into the same sad tenderness that made him such a tragicomic revelation in Neighbors.

Red Eye Chicago
Part of that is the inspired casting of Efron, whose natural sincerity turns what could have been douche-y into the uncertain longing of a nice guy comfortable to be that way in an industry that often isn’t.

Chicago Tribune
Efron brings his gorgeous, bright-eyed wonder to the role of Cole, who seems constantly surprised by the world around him, observing it with a renewed, child-like zeal when he discovers the organic origins of his computer music. It never seems like he will get sucked into the darkness of this world because his aura is too bright.

News.com.au
To his credit, Efron (who is yet to ever put in a truly bad one, it must be said) contributes a solid portrayal of Cole, a cool kid from the uncool side of the tracks desperate to mark his mark on the cutthroat club scene in Los Angeles.

Seattle Times
Efron is excellent in the central role, sensitive and confident, with his movie-star good looks shown to best advantage in his moments of repose.

Den of Geek
Earnest and heartfelt but never naïve, the superb performances of the cast (Efron, Bentley and Emily Ratajkowski in particular) bringing it fiercely to life.

The Daily Beast
Its stars approach the material with honesty and curiosity, especially the ever-reliable Zac Efron and his costar Emily Ratajkowski.

NY Daily News
Zac Efron finds a good beat as young, nice-guy DJ Cole Carter in “We Are Your Friends.”

Rolling Stone
What helps are Efron's low-key charm, Bentley's ability to cut below the surface, and music supervisor Randall Poster's skill at laying on the sounds, including the main score by Segal.

NY Post
Joseph also coaxes superb work out of all three leads: Efron, who has rarely before been accused of being interesting, this time sagely underplays his role. Yet Efron pinpoints that youthful, possibly delusional, hunger for greatness balanced by a fragile self-doubt.

CinemaBlend
In its defense, it’s really difficult to make DJing look physically dramatic on camera, let alone emotional. But, damn it, Zac Efron tries his hardest. The film centers on Cole, and without Efron in the role, everything would fall apart.

At the end of the day, you’re seeing this movie for Zac Efron. There’s something about this 27-year-old that makes audiences fall in love with him. Maybe it’s his chiseled physique, his stupidly handsome Ken doll face, his cutesy blue eyes, his charisma, or a combination of it all. If it wasn’t for his presence in the lead role, taking us through this movie, I’m not convinced there’d be that much appeal. The only moment when I finally had enough of watching him was at the end, after the story all somehow magically works out for everyone, and Cole is on stage DJing at a major music festival. He plays his track filled with the sounds of spinning quarters, wind chimes, and his buddy’s voice, and he’s rocking out as dramatically as he can. To that, I have to say, I am not your friend.

The Kansas City Star
As former teen idols go, Zac Efron is underrated. He can sing and dance (the “High School Musical” trilogy), be funny (“17 Again”) or quite frightening (“Neighbors”). Now in “We Are Your Friends,” the 27-year-old proves he can portray aimless angst with sincerity.

ELLE
Zac Efron and Andrew Garfield Shine in Two of This Season's Must-See Films… A glossy, shamelessly commercial-looking but somehow consistently endearing coming-of-age tale about Cole Carter (the always smartly alert, sexually smoldering, and big-hearted Zac Efron), a sapling of a man determined to make it as a DJ in the macho, sink-or-swim world of electronic dance music (EDM). Despite all the glitz and hard-sell atmospherics of the L.A. EDM scene that the movie lays out, Efron (and this is the secret sauce of his star power) keeps us believing in Carter's core integrity and dignity.

Toronto Sun
Still, We Are Your Friends is engaging and the cast does a good job. Efron is understated and believable as a determined, blue-collar kid whose ambition has isolated him.

Herald Sun
To his credit, Efron (who is yet to ever put in a truly bad one, it must be said) contributes a solid portrayal of Cole, a cool kid from the uncool side of the tracks desperate to mark his mark on the cutthroat club scene in Los Angeles.

SF Gate
Efron is another strength. He has that Tom Cruise/Sandra Bullock ability to make audiences identify with his character and root for a positive result, even if his actions don’t always merit a happy ending. Efron and Bentley develop a believable chemistry, feeding off each other as Cole learns to become a more organic DJ and James tries to get his groove back.

Vulture
Efron is his blank-faced self for most of the film. In previous movies, that placid, angel-eyed expression has been either his great failing or his great asset. Emotions, when he tries to express them in his roles, tend to come off as insincere. This lent That Awkward Moment an extra level of creepiness that felt wrong for a romantic comedy; but it worked extremely well in Neighbors, playing off against Seth Rogen’s accelerating agitation. Here, it feels at first like a mistake: There’s actually a brief animated sequence at one point, when Cole is tripping on PCP, and the animated Zac Efron seems to have more range than the real Zac Efron. But it turns out that’s part of the plan — or at least, it appears to be. Cole has to do a lot of reflecting and reacting in the film, as he absorbs both James’s lessons and the missteps of his own life. By the end, when our hero finally cuts loose, the whole movie comes together. I couldn’t help but smile.

Screenrant
Zac Efron is a charming and likable leading man – which is fortunate, because Cole is a vaguely shaped character at best, and a grossly undercooked protagonist, at worst.

ScreenDaily
But even an empathetic performance from Zac Efron (and an impressive, nuanced turn from Wes Bentley) can’t distract from a movie that mistakes surface flash for probing, zeitgeist-y insights.

To his credit, Efron, who’s shown a self-mocking sense of humour about his good looks and shapely abs in comedies like Neighbours, tries to locate the restlessness and artistry within Cole. But that effort doesn’t mean much when his character’s journey is such a familiar one: To find his voice, Cole must stop imitating others and, instead, speak from the heart. That’s a platitude so mouldy that no amount of sincerity or skill can justify.

Slant Magazine
Efron, breaking from the tightly coiled fratboy routine that made his performance in Neighbors a bit of a fascination, underplays Cole. There's a bland determination to shots of him composing at his laptop, a dutiful charm as he hangs out shirtless with his friends, and a lurking sadness in his glassy blue eyes. He dances like a DJ, watchfully and with a studied, graceful caution. When We Are Your Friends becomes, at once, self-serious, dully predictable, and pointedly self-questioning, Efron's distanced countenance emerges as a portrait of a young man overwhelmed by the diverging avenues toward success.

Empire Online
Zac Efron makes a convincing bid for movie stardom.

Buzzfeed
Efron’s frat-boy earnestness gives Cole, a character who wants only to clamber his way out of the San Fernando Valley and to the status of top-tier DJ, an unforced sweetness, while the movie’s modest aims mold themselves comfortably around Efron’s actorly skill set. We Are Your Friends turns out to be one of those matches of performer and project that bring out the best qualities in each other.

USA Today
While mixing sounds nerdily hard on his computer, Efron works his charisma like a champ as the good-hearted Cole — too much at times, actually, as the niceness and occasional quoting of Emerson bury a few of his more important flaws.

Deadline
Efron is quite good and believable and the best sequence in the film has him showing the passion and the process of creating this unique form of music. Director Max Joseph uses lots of graphic devices including animation (during a drug trip where paintings seem to come alive) and fancy visual tricks to keep the audience engaged.

Independent
The likeable Efron captures his character's ambition, yearning and rebelliousness, but the film sometimes risks seeming like an artier (but equally preening and narcissistic) version of Entourage.

Movizark
Performance wise, Zac Efron leads the way! With last year’s Neighbors, Efron proved how far he has come from High School Musical days. He is just in terrific form here. Although the character is slightly generic, he is warm and engaging in the lead role as Cole; he quickly gets audience sympathy on his side and, even though he loses it at times, he quickly gains it back.

Hayes At The Movies
Although the character is slightly generic, Zac Efron is warm and engaging in the lead role as Cole; he quickly gets audience sympathy on his side and, even though he loses it at times, he quickly gains it back.

Screenrelish
The film boasts some decent cast performances with former teen heartthrob Zac Efron playing aspiring DJ Cole Carter. Efron actually tones down his leading man presence for the role, which is refreshing and surprisingly effective.

New In Cinema
In ‘We Are Your Friends’, this protagonist is Cole Carter (Zac Efron, in an effortlessly great performance that is easily the highlight of the movie).

Make The Switch
Zac Efron is a little wasted in this film - yes, say what you will, but I actually happen to believe he has some true talent as an actor. He plays things light and breezy, and does so well, but he easily could have had a little more meat to sink his teeth into.

An Online Universe
Efron is a charismatic performer with more range than many give him credit for. He’s completely suited to this character and convincing as a DJ.

The Hollywood News
It’s brilliantly paced and has some really great acting talent on display. Efron is superb as the film’s lead, a more serious role for the young actor following comedic stints

News Tribune
Efron is excellent in the central role, sensitive and confident, with his movie-star good looks shown to best advantage in his moments of repose.

The Olympian
Efron is excellent in the central role, sensitive and confident, with his movie-star good looks shown to best advantage in his moments of repose.

Now Toronto
Efron’s a good fit for the role of the wide-eyed, impressionable hero.

Fort-Worth Star-Telegram/dfw.com
Efron acquits himself well here as a DJ.

Directors Cut Movies
The real star of this movie is Zac Efron, and I'm glad that's not a joke. He's excellent in the role, creating a believable character in a believable world, even if half of his lines are absolutely cringe worthy.

The Edinburgh Reporter
A real shame, considering the cast does a swell job, particularly Efron who’s slowly edging into better roles with this as a silly setback.

Film Racket
Thing is, there’s a lot of good here, from the surprising performances to the filmmakers’ compulsion for sensory exploration.

Newsday
It has energy, a surfeit of personality -- courtesy of the very capable Efron, Emily Ratajkowski and a marvelous Wes Bentley.

Directors Cut Movies
The real star of this movie is Zac Efron, and I'm glad that's not a joke. He's excellent in the role, creating a believable character in a believable world, even if half of his lines are absolutely cringe worthy.

Little White Lies
Disposable portrait of an EDM artist in ascent with a very genial Zac Efron in the lead. It’s not a right-off by any means, with Efron himself carrying the film on his rippling shoulders.

Toronto Paradise
Zac Efron is completely believable when running through the town with his friends causing trouble, wanting to be the life of the party but soon enough things take a strange turn and the impossible happens.

Escapist Magazine
As that DJ, Zac Efron does a good job, filling Cole with sincerity and a touch of sadness. Efron hasn't exactly had a great career so far, only having maybe three genuinely good performances, but this might be the best one to-date, even though the bar isn't particularly high.

Feel in Fuzzier
A lot of this appeal can be attributed to the cool cast; Efron suits the role of aspiring DJ well, complete with manscaped physique, gelled-hair and expensive headphones. His performance is pretty good as well, especially when the film gets to the grittier, more serious final third. Where the film suffers is in the drippy middle section where Efron is tasked with courting Emily Ratajkowski's impossibly gorgeous but also awkwardly wooden, Sophie.

Irish Times
Efron is convincing as a young man who fears the break may never come.

Toronto Star
The cast is uniformly good, especially Efron and Bentley as collaborators on the dance floor but rivals in the bedroom.

Stuff.co.nz
On the plus side though, Efron (The Lucky One), rocking a succession of t-shirts and singlets, is both a likeable enough lead and plausible enough DJ

Frontrow Magazine
For his part, Efron is convincing enough as a fledgling artist caught between his past and his future.

Mark Reviews Movies
It might sound cheesy, yet Efron's performance and Joseph's communication of these ideas are too sincerely felt for it not to work on some level.

Hearts and Essex Observer
Efron plies his usual boyish good looks and charm as a counterpoint to Bentley's world-weary EDM veteran.

HC Movie Reviews
Zac Efron was convincing at all times even though he has admitted that he can’t DJ and his fellow cast members always matched him in terms of their performances.

Charlie Juhl
Efron ably carries the film and comes off far less obnoxious than his frat boy persona in 2014’s Neighbors. Cole and that particular frat boy president probably would not get along very well. Both characters drink and smoke their fair share, but Cole has ambition and quests for the purity of artistic achievement; perhaps he is hunting for good will?

Bullz-Eye
Cole, on the other hand, hasn’t been there before, and Efron does a nice job of portraying that lack of experience.

The Telegraph
Efron is an actor who’s supremely comfortable in his environment – he’s always hoisting himself up on walls and swinging around on bars – and the creative ease of his movement has made him fun to watch in every film he’s made, from the High School Musical trilogy to Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, and even this. But his character here is, sad to say, a bit of a nitwit.

Beliefnet
Efron is, as always, an appealing actor.

Blisspop
Cole, played with boyish ease by Zac Efron

Christie Lemire
Efron, though, is easy to underestimate because he’s so damn pretty. He’s made eclectic choices in recent years (“Neighbors,” “The Paperboy”) which simultaneously showcase and subvert his looks. His character here isn’t so deeply drawn as others he’s played post-“High School Musical,” but Efron makes the arc believable. Both his cockiness and his comeuppance seem effortless.

Lifezette
Still, Efron captures the alienation of a young man torn between hedonistic pleasures and growing up. He may not look the part — he’s too pretty and perfectly coiffed to resemble a budding anarchist. The actor flashes a sensitivity that will surprise viewers.


So-So

WGTC
None of the downfalls have much to do with Efron, whose (surprisingly hidden) chiseled form is perfect for every DJ’s go-to outfit of a tank top and shorts. He’s got the physique of a West Coast jockey, and the minimal qualifications to operate a playlist. But kidding aside, the spiky-haired fist-pumper actually conveys a vested interest in the rhythmic hypnosis of EDM music, and his mid-set instructional talks provide momentary depth into the art of (electronically) spinning tracks.

The Playlist
Efron does his best selling Cole’s internal awakenings, but the character is so thinly drawn that he comes across as a good kid who’s having the time of his life and, despite his mistakes, destined to come out on top. At least Efron is charismatic, however, which is more than can be said about his trio of buddies [...]

Mercury News
Efron glides by on his charisma as Cole, a 23-year-old San Fernando Valley guy stuck in a bad groove while hoping to become the next big-name DJ.

Sydney Morning Herald
As a screen presence, Zac Efron is full of intriguing contradictions: the clean-cut beefcake look, the capacity to seem sly, vulnerable and inscrutable all at once.

Uproxx
Zac Efron is tolerable as Cole Carter

Chicago Sun-Times
Zac Efron, who always looks so shiny and buff on screen (Seth Rogen once said, “I marvel at the fact we’re literally the same species”), turns in his usual capable if not particularly riveting performance as our hero. Efron isn’t exactly Ryan Gosling when it comes to having the chops, but he’s a comfortable presence onscreen.

Las Vegas Weekly
Efron is affable but not particularly believable as a talented musician

Boston Globe
It’s easier to care about Efron’s Cole if only because he’s so darn cute, and he’s trying so hard, onscreen and in his career. Personally, I like the kid; any former Disney Channel star willing to be peed on by Nicole Kidman in “The Paperboy” is ready to go the distance to separate himself from the ranks of Troy Donahue/Bobby Sherman/Joey Lawrence/[insert your generational teen idol here]. Yes, it’s weird seeing the “High School Musical” heartthrob wigging out on club drugs, about which “We Are Your Friends” is both refreshingly realistic and awfully cavalier. But the filmmakers do honor Efron’s contract with his core audience. There’s a scene where Cole takes his shirt off, and it’s a Moment.

NYT
This is not the fault of its stars; Mr. Efron and Mr. Bentley do what they can with the material.

Punch Drunk Critics/Examiner
Unfortunately, Cole's aspirations never come across as fully formed, and any roadblocks in his way don't seem to have much of an impact. He's just (sic) that well-drawn of a character, this despite Efron doing his best to express Cole's inner life. Efron's Adonis good looks continue to be his greatest asset, but he's developed into a capable leading man deserving of better material than this script provides.

Forbes
To begin with some faint praise for the little that does work, many of the performers do well with what they’re given. Efron isn’t really challenged to be much more than attractive, hip, and mildly emotive when personal desires are at the forefront of the story, so as a talented performer he does fine with that. But it’s a performance that for the most part feels empty of emotion, as if he’s sleepwalking through the story most of the time.

LA Times
Efron, who has long-since proved himself a capable actor, can only do so much with the material here.

One Guy's Opinion
As for Efron, he suffers mightily—so much that at times you think he might be feeling the effects of a persistent stomach ailment. At least he gets to relax somewhat in his scenes with Ratajkowski, although in those he shifts into puppy-dog demeanor reminiscent of his “High School Musical” days.

Reel Views
For Zac Efron, this is the latest in a line of attempts to gain credibility as a serious actor; the stigma of being a Disney idol has clung tenaciously to his reputation. His performance is okay but he's too low-key to leave an impression.

DCW50
Then, Efron has the same problem of only shining occasionally. He’s able to better capture the range of emotions Cole feels, but the script doesn’t give him enough. Mostly, Efron is left to look befuddled at the confusing world around him (and provide his own obvious visual reasons in the meaningless, exploitive scene of him in the shower).

Oregon Live
"Harmless" also describes Efron, the baby-faced, brilliant-eyed star who graduates from high school musicals to the more collegiate variety with this tale of a laptop mixmaster trying to break into the big-time world of electronic dance music. Efron, despite his blankness, has a screen presence you can't help but root for. In another 25 years, he'll probably have a great comeback role in a film by the Quentin Tarantino of that era.


Negative

Joblo
I have no problems with Zac Efron. Sure, he's pretty but to give this guy his due he seems exceedingly confident in front of the camera and has a kind of easy charisma that just screams movie-star. Given the right role, he could really amount to something. But, given something as thinly written as this he flounders, badly.

AV Club
We Are Your Friends is as blank and empty as Zac Efron’s stare… Still in his nascence as a semi-adult movie star, Zac Efron has displayed an affinity for thinly sketched male camaraderie—dim bros who allegedly love each other’s company, but have very little to say to each other or anyone else. Neighbors made that desire for unchallenging friendship sort of touching, but movies like That Awkward Moment and We Are Your Friends place him in a dead zone that is full of bro signifiers and empty of actual friendship, leaning on his tendency to stare blankly instead of emoting.

NPR
At the center of the story, and not for the first time, Efron is little more than a good-looking void. But that's largely the responsibility of the script, which gives Cole plenty to do but little to say or think.

ComingSoon
The biggest overall problem with We Are Your Friends is that Efron has good looks but isn’t a particularly charismatic actor as far as making Cole an interesting character.

International FilmJournal
Bentley’s confidently snide and amused delivery (“You’re not even a real person until you’re 27”) makes some of this material more palatable, but Efron’s reserved demeanor and Ratajkowski’s dreary flatness fail to pick up on the gauntlet he’s thrown.

Metro US
Aspiring DJ Cole Carter, played with blank-faced puppydog sincerity by Zac Efron, mans the controls of an L.A. rich person party and, to impress a girl, and maybe us, decides to offer up his secret recipe.

Screenjabber
Efron gives a somewhat colourless performance as Cole Carter.

Flickfilosopher
Efron’s usual appeal is lost among it.

Nationalpost
I mean that literally. Cole is compelled to turn and look at any girl he passes in the street or on the dance floor. His ability to swivel his noggin and scan the environment is admirable; unfortunately, it’s also what passes for acting range in this movie. (Also, is there a rule in Hollywood that says Efron has to be filmed showering in at least one scene?)

Awardscircuit
It’s not necessarily the fault of the actors, but every single character in this movie is a terrible and unlikeable person. It’s probably no surprise then that Wes Bentley and Zac Efron fare the best in the cast because they’re required to acknowledge this. Efron is a bland leading man, but he has sporadic charisma, so a better written part would have done wonders for him.

Baltimore Magazine
Efron is a natural and likeable presence on screen and has proven to be a pretty decent actor in films like Hairspray and The Paperboy. But the problem with “regularness” is that, in the wrong hands, it’s kind of dull. Which brings us to We Are Your Friends. The film, directed and co-written by Max Joseph, clearly sees itself as a kind of West Coast Saturday Night Fever, with disco replaced by EDM (Electronic Dance Music). But it’s so shallow, it actually feels more like EDM’s answer to Cocktail, that Tom Cruise vehicle about a brash young bartender learning the ropes from a wily mentor.

We Are Movie Geeks
It doesn’t help that Cole is essentially a cipher, and Effron lacks the chops to make him more than that. We’re watching a man devote himself to music and figure out what his life is going to be about, but Effron doesn’t act so much as he twinkles and wiggles and stares intently at his laptop. The star has turned in decent performances in other films but here he makes it hard to get too worked up about Cole’s dreams.

San Diego Reader
Nor even for pretty Zac Efron's doomed attempt to lend soul and fire to the sight of a Valley kid turning knobs in front of his laptop.

RogerEbert.com
Efron, however, often looks nearly at sea as Braff would have. Part of it has to do with his character being a bit of a cipher to begin with.

Detroit News
Efron hints at layers in Carter he isn’t able to explore, and his scenes with Ratajkowski — who has the screen presence of a piece of pita bread — are lifeless.

Screen It
Efron continues to fall into the trap that former kids' TV darlings Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez set for him of appearing in hard R-rated films in which he and everyone around smoke pot, do drugs, pound back liquor, engage in promiscuous sex, and use way too many swear words. Cole and Mason and the rest can't just say things like "I'll do it later" or "Where are you going?" They have to puff up their chests and say "I'll f***ing do it later" and "Where are you f***ing going?" It gets so laughable that you almost believe these little boys are cursing for the first time ever and finding it just so cool.


My Thoughts

I am focusing mostly on the Zac parts in these reviews, obviously. As I expected, the story overall is weak and the subject, meh. I had hoped Working Title being involved would help it be better but alas. I am very glad that though that Zac is getting some credit from people who, before Neighbors, disliked him.

That said, I am also fearful the box office beating will hurt his reputation with the superficial people, especially cause I don't see Dirty Grandpa doing that well either (Mike and Dave is another story and fingers crossed for Neighbors 2).

While I never expected WAYF would make major money, it is surprising for how bad the box office is. I feel a bit like it is a perfect storm of catastrophe... tbh Zac's fanbase is not as hot as it was, it is also a bad time of year generally (first/second week of school for many high schoolers and college students), it has not-so-great reviews, and to follow on the heels of Straight Outta Compton would've been tough even for a praised film. And you could tell, for all their social media efforts, it wasn't catching interest. But WAYF's number almost comes off as if the box office is like a stock market, dramatically overcorrecting itself down after the massive, aberrant rally that was the record-shattering Compton.

Whatever the case, I hope Zac uses this as both a lesson and a test. The lesson being, briefly, don't pick scripts just because you identify with the role, pick them because they are A+. A good script can go bad in filming but very, very rarely does a bad script end up better. The test is, for someone intent on succeeding, intent on pleasing people and critically aware of his business responsibility and how the money side of Hollywood works, don't get bogged down in this failure or in the narrative others will paint of you, don't slide backwards. Keep working, value the good parts of the project, learn from the mistakes and move on. The only true thing about Hollywood is, you're only out of options once you are deceased. And if Matthew McConaughey can win an Oscar after coasting on his looks and generic dreck, so can Zac.
Tags: box office, essay, reviews: wayf, we are your friends
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