*NEW* WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS REVIEW *NEW*

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WE ARE NOT IMPRESSED.

Going down in history with the worst opening weekend for a major Hollywood film on wide release, this dull DJ affair was surprisingly watchable BUT enjoyable? Well . . .

Caught between a forbidden romance and the expectations of his friends, aspiring DJ Cole Carter (Zac Efron) attempts to find the path in life that leads to fame and fortune.

A mixed bag. Patchy, uneven and uninteresting. I could feel my eyes closing by the hour marker. I really hoped for an American indie take on Human Traffic. Here’s a quick reminder.

Any excuse for a Human Traffic reference. Anyway, I hoped for a belting soundtrack, a good cast and a good story. Well . . . The music was kinda good.

I fear for Efron. Is this the only role the guy can get? The troubled good looking guy spiel is wearing thin. Don’t get me wrong, he has just enough charisma to keep the lead likeable BUT he needs a game changer. And unfortunately this wasn’t.

It doesn’t help that we’ve seen this story before. And so much better. Jonny Weston (Project Almanac) was incredibly irritating as Cole’s best friend, Mason. While the rest of the gang were unlikeable or unmemorable. Shiloh Fernandez’s Ollie was too bland and too much of a drip to care about. Alex Shaffer’s Squirrel wasn’t really brought into the mix until the final minutes. A waste of time.

I’m sure that was supposed to be the point as Cole tries to break away from this hum drum lifestyle. BUT it was hard to enjoy the lads’ “shenanigans” when they were doing your nut in. I say shenanigans. Pulling birds and popping pills.

The dig from Cole about EDM was interesting. All you need is a laptop. Some knowledge of DJ software and one ground breaking track apparently. I’m sure it was meant to be a statement on the saturation of EDM but it kind of takes a stab at people who buy the music. Me.

The tracks that Efron and Bentley’s characters regarded as bilge were actually quite good. Here’s an example. Something to jazz it up a bit.

Too jazzy? Moving on. What made me laugh was that their “authentic” ground breaking tracks were absolute tosh. Apparently authentic is the sound of a coin spinning on a table and Efron’s housemate shooting nails through the roof. Brilliant :/

I did like the downbeat tone and warped corporate angle. It was just a shame that it was never really used to its full potential. The dark underbelly of the American dream was perfectly demonstrated with Jon Bernthal’s sleazy realtor. A tense scene in which we watch the snake at work had potential BUT it never really went anywhere. Merely a turning point for the hapless DJ.

The alluring Emily Ratajkowski (Gone Girl) was nice to look at. BUT her acting? Her acting wasn’t actually that bad.

It just didn’t help that her character had the depth of an attractive looking cardboard cut out. She certainly had good chemistry with Efron which made their inevitable romance that little more bearable.

I think the only actor who might come out of this mess unscathed is Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games). He was fantastic as the washed up alcoholic DJ. He brought the much needed tension or drama that each scene desperately needed. Living proof that fame has a price.

BUT the tone was all over the place. A visually eye catching piece of animation may not have sent the right message about taking drugs. I liked the existential crisis that Cole was going through. Is there more to life than a 9 to 5? BUT it came off far too pretentious for it’s own good. Especially when he wanted to make loads of money from just making one track. Talk about work ethic.

The zippy graphics and visuals were interesting in the opening sequence BUT they soon overstayed their welcome. The animated segment about bass and getting people’s heartbeats to the right level of “synchronicity” (Yup) was ridiculous and laughable.

It didn’t help that when everything finally kicked off. Bar one unexpected scene (No spoilers), it was all pretty flat and predictable. Bernthal’s realtor was never revisited or resolved. The pace stuttered along. And after all that monotonous build up, the film delivered a cliched and abrupt finale.

Dull and disappointing.

2/5

PROJECT ALMANAC REVIEW

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21 and Over meets The Butterfly Effect. And believe me, I’m making it sound more interesting that it was.

It’s not all bad. In fact, it was quite watchable.

BUT then again . . . How many times have I used that old chestnut?

So what’s it about? A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control.

As soon as the opening sequence began with that inevitable and irritating shaky handheld camera, I sighed.

However, despite the disorienting camera work, it zipped along.

It established the geeky characters quickly with a humourous segment that you’d expect to see more on The Gadget Show than in a feature film.

The first 20 minutes was corny but set up Jonny Weston’s David (Chasing Mavericks) as he desperately tries to earn a scholarship at MIT while dealing with trying to woo the girl that doesn’t know he exists and blah blah blah.

Geeks trying to get laid and fall in love. The usual guff.

That is until . . .

David finds an old home movie of his 7th birthday party and catches his “present day self” walking in the background. Cue the rest of the movie.

“So you’re telling me. Dad left a time machine in the basement”.

The premise is ridiculous and full of plot holes BUT what I will commend is that the cast don’t take it too seriously. A weakness that strengthens this film and makes it a lot more fun.

Stupid BUT fun. The acting is a little bland. Ironically on some of the more serious moments of the film.

The guys’ breeze through the scientific mumbo jumbo as much as possible. Something about temporal relocation aided with endless time travel movie references (Terminator 1-4, Looper, Back to the Future).

Oh and of course, let’s not forget the infamous Time Paradox chalkboard that magically appears in the room when the present day has suddenly changed dramatically!

The film did focus another 20 minutes on the gang fixing said time machine. The geeky gadgetry sequences were interesting enough. The things you can do with an Xbox 360, huh?

The material hunting wasn’t bad with our nerds breaking into their own high school to steal hydrogen.

The only thing I thought was a little silly. David states to his sister to record everything. Is it a good idea to film yourselves breaking into public property and stealing expensive chemicals in the name of science? Hmmm . . .

The visual effects with the time travel tests was brilliant. Mini tornadoes in water. Tools melting. Various items fusing in the walls.

In total, it’s a good 45 minutes before the gang even actually time travel. Luckily it’s all easy going enough.

When they do time travel, the experience is quite disorienting. The camera work did my eyes in.

It does get a little corny but quite funny. The fact the gang are rejoicing that they travelled back to yesterday was hilarious.

Worried about distorting reality or changing the fabric of time? Nah, all they did was accidentally steal a dog.

Of course, being teenagers, they use time travel to pass exams. Sam Lerner’s Quinn was quite memorable. The numerous attempts he had to take to pass his science exam was funny.

The teacher inevitably changing every question each time he travelled back. Brilliant.

The lottery scene was well done. Who wouldn’t use time travel to try and win it? It was great when the gang realise they wrote down the wrong number and only (I say only) won 2 million out of a 128 million jackpot.

Things do get a little more interesting when they meet their past selves. That’s where the film seems to jump start from its jittery easy going crawl.

Inevitably, there are always consequences when people mess about with the fabric of time. Even if their intentions are good (or a little shallow in David’s case).

I felt the film threw in some little subplots to fill in the void that should have been a meaty story line. Virginia Gardner’s bully plot line came out of nowhere. “You know Christina’s got that bully problem?”

Uh, no. I didn’t. A little payback was rewarding BUT it would have been nice to know why Christina was doing it in the first place. The punchline was badass though.

I felt the romance subplot between David and Sofia Black-D’Elia’s Jessie was so cringey and corny. Any sweeter and I would have vommed.

It’s all done with enough fun and cheesy stupidity to be watchable. The last 20 minutes does get a lot darker and frantic with the paradox effect rearing its ugly head.

The only problem is that after so many classics; Back To The Future, Twelve Monkeys and Doctor Who, the same old thing has to happen. The ever predictable timey wimey guff coming to a nauseating finale (and that was without the aid of the shoddy camera work).

The ending was dire. And to add insult to injury, the main character has the cheek to look at the camera with the cringiest closing line ever.

Give it a go if you’re fed up of re-watching the time travel classics BUT otherwise watch the classics.

2.5/5

If that final scene wasn’t in it, I would have caved and gave this a 3 (Just)!