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Less Than Zero [VHS]

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr., James Spader, Tony Bill
  • Directors: Marek Kanievska
  • Writers: Bret Easton Ellis, Harley Peyton
  • Producers: Jon Avnet, Jordan Kerner, Marvin Worth
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: CBS Fox
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Oct. 1999
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CJET
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,704 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Clay (Andrew McCarthy) arrives home from college for Christmas in Los Angeles. His ex-girlfriend (Jami Gertz) wants Clay to save their friend Julian (Robert Downey Jr) from his ever-worsening drug addiction and its attendant debts. Clay does his best to undo the damage, but realises along the way that Julian's problem is much worse than it seems.

From Amazon.co.uk

Less Than Zero is adapted from the dreary, pointless late-80s novel by literary poseur Bret Easton Ellis, which focused on listless, shiftless, drug-sniffing, sex-swapping, dead-end California teens with too much money and time on their hands--though the movie is not nearly as interesting as that. This is mostly due to the ridiculously cleaned-up script and lifeless direction, which whitewashes the baser depravity and replaces it with perversion-lite and fashion shows. It doesn't help that director Marek Kanievska is saddled with Brat Pack lesser (make that least) lights Andrew McCarthy and Jami Gertz. The only things that lift this film above the muck are the performances by James Spader as a particularly heinous drug dealer and Robert Downey Jr as a rich-kid addict with no self-control. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Sure, neither Jamie Gertz or Andrew Mcarthy are ever likely to win an oscar, but you can never knock James Spader or Robert Downey Jr, who both play fantastic parts in this. It's also nothing like the book, which isn't a bad thing !
Maybe it affected me more because I grew up in the 80's, but I really identified with the characters and the things they were being exposed to. It's set in LA, but it could be any city really, as it goes through what happens after kids leave university full of hope and big ideas, then they realise things aren't always quite so rosy in the big wide world. Sure, none of these characters struggle financially at first since they are all from wealthy families, but the temptations they come across and the decisions they have to make are no different to those that face all young people.
The soundtrack is another plus - you can't beat the Bangles can you ?!?
Well worth watching...a bit of a cult favourite, and a must for any Robert Downey Jr fan !
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Format: DVD
I felt the young cast was actually not badly chosen, Andrew McCarthy as the college boy possibly following his families footsteps, Jamie Gertz portraying an insecure girl and Robert Downey Jr as a guy who went on the wrong path going downhill by the minute. The vulnerability is genuine and for example with their (especially rich) parents being either widowed or divorced or else, it is believable how these kids develop post school.
I liked the film, but I can imagine a bigger potential with the book. Though Downey and Spader are definitely worth watching.

However there were two things bugging me about the film.
After 5 minutes plot the film moves on "6 months later", which I find given the circumstances and story unrealistic. These rather dramatic developments are unrealistic to happen only '6' months after graduation, it should have been a year to make a difference. A few months is just so naff, sorry. So I watched the film a second time, just pretending to myself it would be a year later, and things made more sense.
Secondly the party/clubbing scenes - were the dancing people out of rhythm, was the post-dubbing just bad or what was going on? And why would one hear tapping dancing feet? Any club would have played loud music so one could not really get this sound effect. This really distracted me and just did not convince me.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Robert Downey 10/10 James Spader 10/10 and Andrew McCarthy 2/10 - This is a great movie let down only by one persons poor acting and performance. But if you want to know or experience the story read the book.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Fantastic movie great watch easily one of Di Caprios favourite performances well acted it's emotional real life drama of teen life in America and a great story with lots of good actors really enjoyed this one.
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By A Customer on 1 Dec. 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Fans of Brett Easton Ellis will probably be disappointed that this film is not a direct copy of the book, in fact, it's nothing like the book, but to this we say, "tough luck".
The story centres around the life of Julian rather than Clay in this film, and Blair is much a part of the limelight as any of them. There's still drugs, money and of course, that eighties rock and roll but it lacks the devastating emotional rollercoaster Mr Ellis is always determined to drag you on.
All in all, the cast is flawless: Robert Downey Jr. plays Julian, the 18 year old who just can't stay off drugs, Andrew McCarthy is the ever understanding Clay and Jami Gertz plays the mixed up beauty Blair. Definitely one to watch.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The truth is I don't know what to make of this film. It's good in the sense that it shows inside a drug addict's friend and how he struggles to help him, and the acting is quite good from the three main leads as well as good supporting cast. I think my biggest problem is that this is just another example of a film not especially for me. It did seem like another film that was just going by ear with no real planned plot line ahead but then that could be part of the films style. Other than that it was a good film and very touching thanks to the actors and characters involved.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It wasn't a film I thought I'd be moved by. However, I think it is extra poignant due to the real life struggles Robert Downey Jr had reflected and drew upon in his personal life. His role was moving and surprising. He doesn't come across like you might expect (for example in Iron Man, Holmes, etc) but he makes the character have many layers exploring the depths an addict will fall. Watching him use on film, showing the way a persons essence is consumed by a drug, made a personal impact on what we may know about this subject matter and what you may know. I recommend this film, but advise that the frank subject matter may be shocking. I know that RDJ mentioned that this film was a reflection of many *aspects* of his own personal struggle with heroin addiction, which explains how this film has additional emotional resonance to me, the viewer. It is like looking inside a goldfish bowl, of another persons life.
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By A Customer on 5 Mar. 2006
Format: VHS Tape
I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I watched this film. As a fan of Bret Easton Ellis's novel "Lezz Than Zero", I was ecstatic to discover that there was a film adaptation and, best of all, it had actually been made in the 80s and therfore would, hopefully, capture the 80s influence that made the novel what it was. I set out to watch the film expecting it to be as thrillingly nihilistic and caustic as the novel, but was dissapointed to discover that, in making the film, Kanievska had completely missed the point. The fact that the novel's protagonist, Clay, is effectively numb to the events of the story (his most extreme emotions displayed generally being that of mild distaste and occasionally desperation) should never have been overlooked! Whilst I can accept that a story often loses aspects of itslef having made the transition from novel to film, I found it impossible to ignore the glaring deviations from the original text. Kanievska not only changed the dialogue, many of the scenes, and the plot, but also the emotions a reader/viewer leaves the story with. Here, "Less Than Zero" has gone from being a distressing account of the Reagan 80s that leaves the reader both numb and overwhelmed at the same time, to an unimpressive, underwhelming chore of a film!
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