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Less Than Zero (2009)

Michael Bowen , Sarah Buxton , Marek Kanievska  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Bowen, Sarah Buxton, Jr. Robert Downey, Lisanne Falk, Flea
  • Directors: Marek Kanievska
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Mono)
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,510 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Returning home from college for Christmas vacation, Clay (Andrew McCarthy) is eager to resume his long-time romantic relationship with Blair (Jami Gertz) and his old friendship with the irresponsible Julian (Robert Downey, Jr.). But he finds the two have started a relationship of their own and developed a fondness for clubs, wild parties and endless amounts of cocaine. Clay's determination and love for Blair enables him to win her back, but Julian is a different story. Increasingly hopeless, addicted and deeply in debt to his dealer (James Spader), he puts Clay and Blair through the ultimate test of friendship, loyalty and love.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Though most reviewers commented on their disppointment that this movie missed the mark 1000% when it came to adapting the novel by Ellis to the big screen, I believe if you view this film as a message movie for the ages where drugs and excess are concerned, then you will be quite impressed. If not for Robert Downey Jr. and James Spaders' performances, however, the other actors could not have carried the message with such brutal force. Julian is a wreck of an addict, distraught over family issues, wild eyed with crazy drug induced moods, not really making it in school, and his circle of friends, male and female, are his only salvation. At the same time, they are his downfall, for Julian slides effortlessly into the glamorous world of sex, clubs and drugs with his friends right by his side. This picture came out in the eighties, when JUST SAY NO was on everyone's lips, and the dangers of "recreational" drug use were not exposed as vividly. Watching Julian's descent into hell feels like a punch in your chest, and the ending, though some may have seen it coming, shook me up considerably, having known a person with a similar fate back in my '80's high school days. Of course this film is not classic filmmaking or even original storytelling, but I think showing it to impressionable teens at an early age might not be a bad idea. And how accurately did art mirror life when, in the 1990's, Downey Jr. nearly killed himself getting high on everything under the sun. This film was not a far stretch for him.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't care what the others say! May 25, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I've both read this book and seen this movie. They're right who say it doesn't follow the book in "plot" (but then again if you read the book you'd realize it was one of those good books like "Catcher in the Rye" without a real "plot"- which wouldn't make too good a movie now would it?). This is a moving movie and the acting is brilliant most of the time, especially from Robert Downey Jr. He plays the part of the hopeless junky so well that it's almost eerie sometimes. Jamie Gertz did a good job playing the hypocritical yet caring friend who makes it her mission in life to protect the Downey Jr. character. And Andrew McCarthy puts off just the right mixture of depth of feeling and the detachment of an outsider who's been away for too long. The casting was great and they did what they could to make this a good movie, and succeeded. It was real, scary, intelligent, and suspensful. Watch it!
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great showcase for Robert Downey Jr.'s talents October 30, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I haven't yet read the novel, but I have heard of all the lashings both critics and Bret Easton Ellis alike have thrown at the film version of "Less Than Zero." It's nothing new when Hollywood takes liberties with a good book (Kubrick's hack-job with "The Shining" is an ideal example), and very rarely do adaptations hit the screen flawlessly.
Well, that being said, I must say that "Less Than Zero" is one of my favorite movies at the moment, not because of its commitment to the source material but as an affecting tale of addiction among the jaded and ruined of the L.A. club scene circa 1987. Clay (Andrew McCarthy) returns home for Christmas to see his friends Blair and Julian (Jami Gertz & Downey, Jr.) and finds them immersed in the ruins of drugged-out living. The movie is basically his attempts to tag after and save Julian from himself before he--duh--gets in too deep.
The recent troubles in Robert Downey Jr.'s personal life make his portrayal of the drugged-out Julian all the more resonant and convincing. "Less Than Zero" is really his movie, and he shines in spite of the grunge his character is pulled through. Andrew McCarthy is well-cast as the heroic, boyishly handsome Clay. Jami Gertz does well, but her appeal as a sex symbol must have lived and died in the 1980s: she shows capable acting ability, but it's hard to watch her monstrous facial expressions. In a supporting role, James Spader is typically excellent as a sleazy drug dealer.
Some have said the film is hollow and lacks the spirit of Ellis' novel, but I'm not in a position to say. Judging "Less Than Zero" only by the movie alone, I would have to reply with nothing but enthusiasm. It's a drama that doesn't manipulatively pull at the viewer's heartstrings with cliche, but instead is honest about its subject and as a result, more genuine.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seedy LA circa 80's September 27, 2004
First off I have to say this is one of my favorite films. However I'd be lying to say it was anything like the book. For instance in the book Clay is an emotionless empty void who more than occasionally takes drugs and never really finds fulfillment or contentness by the end one can't really feel sympathy for him in the novel. The film gave him more of a soul with some direction in life which one can sympathize with. The book has more characters that weave in and out of the story. The movie seemed to focus more on Julian (Downey Jr) & his decent into addiction. I'm one of those people who actually liked the movie a little more than the novel. What I liked about this film for one the cinematography was outstanding really went with the mood of the film. It made you want to see what the scene was like in LA in the 80's besides the drugs there was a lot of energy. Overall I thought the acting was good. James Spader's portrayal of money hungry drug dealer Rip was flawless. Downey Jr really caught the essence of a drug addict I thought.In short synopsis Clay (Andrew McCarthy) comes back to Hollywood -LA after attending school back east in New England College. He comes back to his coke addicted girlfriend Blair ( Gertz) & messed up best friend Julian (R Downey Jr) who has a drug addiction the size of Utah after his dreams of owning a record label collapse. Clay notices nothing has really changed around here but Julian is going down the tubes faster everyday. He owes the local drug dealer Rip major amount of money. Clay tries desperately to help them out and bring them back to school with him. One of best films in 80's cinema. A lot of people bagged on this film because they say it didn't accurately represent the book. I think it wasn't meant to be just like the book. But it's one of those movies that brings you right there as if your living it for the hour & a half that your watching it good dark drama film. Check out my book review also.
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