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Less Than Zero
DVD disk
Oct 6, 2004 By: The Arrow
Less Than Zero order
Director:
Marek Kanievska

Actors:
Andrew McCarthy
Robert Downey Jr.
Jami Gertz

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Its Christmas time. Clay (McCarthy) returns to glitzy Beverly Hills to visit his family, his ex-girlfriend Blair (Gertz) and his ex-best friend Julian (Downey) whos now dating Blair. Once there, Clay realizes that his boy Julian is hooked on cocaine and both he and Blair try to prevent his downward spiral, while at the same time, trying to figure out their feelings for each other. [sings] Time, Time, Time, what has become of me?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Based on the best selling Bret Easton Ellis book of the same name, this flick got a lot of flack upon its initial release for straying too far from its literary source. Not having read the novel, I approached this movie with zero expectations and wound up genuinely loving it.

LESS THAN ZERO has all of its bases covered. Acting-wise, Robert Downey Jr. is a revelation as the coke fiend and when you take into account his recent drug-related arrests, it made me wonder if he really got high for the role. Either way, what an amazing performance! Jamie Gertz is dead-on as the confused girlfriend. She excels at displaying vulnerability and I lost myself in her big brown eyes more than once. Andrew McCarthy is also on the money as the straight shooter of the bunch. I did have trouble buying that he didnt at least falter once, considering the temptations that surrounded him, but thats a minor screenplay complaint, not an acting one. Add to that, a scary gay (or is he bi) drug dealer in the guise of James Spader (Rip) at his slimy best and you get a rock on cast.

Substance-wise, the flick explores all of its issues and relationships extensively. The love triangle never takes too much space and the main characters are all given enough screen time to shine. The core of the story also comes through gangbusters. The depictions of Julians sad downfall and his desperate struggle to surmount his addiction are extremely engaging. I felt for the guy and his situation. I also really dug how amidst all of the chaos, the film still managed to properly handle the theme of friendship. It rang true and hit home. On a candy level, the flick goes all-out in portraying the superficial, excessive, rich and empty 80s world in which the players lived. Bright colors abound, the fashions are outrageous, the swimming pools are bluer than the sky, the beach scenery is breathtaking, the cars and the ladies are all hot and the soundtrack is all about groovy old school rap, rock and reggae (wheres my 80s pop?). Hell on earth never looked so good! Add to that, a very poignant score, stylish directing, a fearless attitude on the movies part (it gets ugly) and a gripping finale and you get an 80s classic that still holds up like a champ today .
THE EXTRAS
Talk about hollow extras! All we get is 5 TV Spots and 2 Theatrical Trailers (one in Spanish). Half assed.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Any movie that begins with The Bangles beautiful rendition of Hazy Shades Of Winter cant be bad. Yes, the DVD itself is a bit of letdown, but the film alone is worth the price of purchase. This movie just has it all: strong acting, slick directing, a moving score, a bopping soundtrack and a well-written screenplay. What else do you want from a cinematic experience? This flick is what wouldve happened to PRETTY IN PINK if John Hughes had been on drugs. Thats a good thing! LESS THAN ZERO is definitely up there in terms of my fav 80s flicks.
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