DRAMA; 1hr 36min
STARRING: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski
Spin master: Efron
If you’re a go-getting DJ, a laptop, talent and one, career-making track can be, in the words of 23-year-old Cole Carter (Efron), “your ticket to everything.” As Cole sees it, getting that track together and getting out of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, where he lives and hangs with his true-blue buddies (Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer and Jonny Weston), takes rhythm, patience, a working knowledge of the human circulatory system and hopefully, a rich mentor (Bentley as DJ James Reed; Ratajkowski is Reed's luscious gf, whom Cole inconveniently covets).
With co-writer Meaghan Oppenheimer, director Max Joseph zeroes cruisily in on that slim, specific window in time when you’re still young enough to fan the aspirational flame but not too young that you believe your time is infinite. Laced with a mood-boosting electronic soundtrack, Friends is an earthier image for Efron, who dropped a bunch of weight and immersed himself in the DJ culture to look and nail the part. Props to him, and to Joseph, for bringing life to the party, then knowing when it’s time to change the tune.