Less Than Zero - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Less Than Zero Reviews

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August 11, 2017
A very glossy and brightly coloured movie that unfortunately altogether misses out on the brilliance of the book's finer points. The impressive cast is wasted. There's no nuance. The approach is disappointingly one dimensional.
½ July 30, 2017
I actually think this movie gets better and better as the years go by. It's a incredible portrait of a Los Angeles reality (sadly) still relevant today. And Ed Lachman's work is masterful.
July 2, 2017
Downey establishes himself as a future star and is by far the best part of the film. That's not to say the rest is terrible, but just not as compelling. The film doesn't focus enough on Julian's story while at the same time not making the core friendship feel real.
June 8, 2017
I'm definitely rating this with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia, because this film isn't all that good, but was something I caught at the right age for it to be intriguing to me.

Having since read the novel several times, it's hard to watch bits of this because it is so sanitized from the source material and because Andrew McCarthy is just so Goddamned boring to look at and seems so self-righteous whereas Clay in the novel is equally amoral.

Robert Downey Jr's manic/hammy performance makes this worth watching, and Jami Gertz is really easy on the eyes, even if her Blair character is almost goofily childlike at times.

Worth a rental.
June 6, 2017
Less Than Zero is the movie i watch if I want a quick flash back to the 80's. To many its Dirty Dancing, Top Gun, Platoon...ect. Less Than Zero though is a film that was directed toward that younger audience. I call it the anti John Hughes film. The music encompasses some of the biggest hits of the year with such songs as Going Back to Cali (LL Cool J), The Bangles (Hazy Shades of Winter) and Public Enemy (Bring the Noise). The most interesting part of this movie is dark place these characters are placed in. Robert Downey Jr. was quoted as saying that this film is the reason he took a long personal dive into drugs. It is also some of the finest roles he has ever portrayed. Gertz and McCarthy play there roles right, never over or under acting. Which is exactly the way the director wanted them. The focus was on Julian, a kid riding high and never coming down. This movie is the not the most exiting or an accurate portrait of rich life, its point was to take a artistic approach of drug addiction and where it leads. Coke in the 80's was huge. Very few films tackled this subject at the time and Less Than Zero took it on and made its point and quite well i believe.
May 29, 2017
If you are in your mid to late 40's I can't see you saying this wasn't a great movie. Sure the story wasn't all that, but this captured the late 80's in So Cal more than any other movie in history! You could call this the sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, since this is the realistic portrayal of Los Angeles County in the 80's other than To Live and Die in LA to be seen on the screen. This really is a So Cal classic! If you want to know life in the 80's in So Cal, Fast Times, Less Than Zero and To Live and Die LA are the movies to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2017
The film revolves around Downey Jr and he puts in a great performance, but sadly he can't carry the film alone and so everything else drags and feel superfluous.
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2016
At first the unlikable characters keep us from relating to the story but Kanievska manages the feat of making them all sympathetic later, in a devastating portrayal of drug addiction with a great soundtrack and two terrific performances by Robert Downey Jr. and James Spader.
October 8, 2016
I guess you could say the best thing about it is it does a fairly well Hollywood interpretation of the book.
June 3, 2016
An almost perfect portrayal of the superficiality, excesses, darkness, and tragedy of the 1980's. i guess it wasn't always so great to grow up attractive and privileged in Los Angeles circa 1987. At first glance Less Than Zero comes on like a dramatized music video. But James Spader, Robert Downey Jr. , and even Andrew McCarthy and Jamie Gertz all evoke so much sadness, boredom, and desperation that I couldn't help get dragged down with them. Their performances pull nuance and feeling from a script that most actors of their generation could never muster.
April 27, 2016
Rich kids do drugs and live in the fast lane in this tiring drama.
April 13, 2016
A movie about the destructiveness of cocaine. Too bad you almost need to do some cocaine to stay awake through it! I loved the cast, but the story was just boring and unfocused.
December 10, 2015
I finally got around to watching this for the first time. Downey Jr. is excellent in a role that mirrored his real life at the time, and James Spader is appropriately creep. McCarthy was a weak link for me. It was funny to see brad Pitt as an extra in one of the early scenes. Worth a watch if fans of the actors, otherwise skip it.
September 15, 2015
This is one of those rare occurrences where the performances from the actors are better than the actual film itself as a whole. Don't get me wrong, this is a good movie and I recommend that you give it a watch primarily because of the wonderful message it hopes to convey concerning friendship and drug addiction. However, I cannot say that this was a great film because of a few narrative issues, occasional spots of questionable dialogue, and slight lack of character development. In a nutshell, the story revolves around 3 friends who graduated high school together. It fast forwards 6 months after the graduation, and Andrew McCarthy's character comes home to visit his friends only to find that his best friend Julian (masterfully played by Robert Downey, Jr.) has slipped into a tragic lifestyle of drug addiction, financial debt, and sad desperation. He does everyone in his power to maintain the friendship and get him back on track. James Spader (aka Ultron), as always, plays a villain this time in the form of an angry drug dealer and Jami Gertz plays the female friend of the group who watched over Julian while McCarthy's character was away. This movie has a lot of heart and the intentions behind it were certainly good. However, I think the 90-ish minute run-time really kept this film from allowing the audience to fully examine how Julian spiraled down into such a sad road in life. Also...am I supposed to believe that these characters matured so much and that Julian lost all his money and became an addict all within 6 months? Wouldn't they have spent their 3-month Summer together before leaving for college? Why do they all act like it has been ages since they last saw one another and they are trying to rekindle their friendships like old times? This story would have been wonderful and far more believable if they would have fast forwarded 1 or 2 years ahead. The short run-time and lack of time passing really bothered me. But I gotta say, Robert Downey, Jr. gave one of the best performances of his career here and it is highly underrated because he was very believable. No wonder he soon got nominated for Chaplin 5 years later. Ironically, this film was made while Downey, Jr. was actually struggling with drug addiction. So, I suppose the role was rather relate-able to him at the time. Overall, give this film a watch. I found it to be good, but not as great as it had the potential to become.
June 14, 2015
So bad my lungs hurt
½ June 9, 2015
The film has become a cult classic, and it showcases Robert Downey Jr. in one of his best performances, but it's not a great movie. Bret Easton Ellis is a tricky writer to adapt to screen - he revels in excess, which should be a great film adaptation, but somehow Hollywood has been off the mark with his material.
½ April 15, 2015
This film is an insult to the book.
April 9, 2015
Spader and Downey jr. shine but the movie is just a giant,frantic glitzie music video of a mess..
½ February 17, 2015
An underrated 80s movie with a great Downey Jr. performance and a refreshingly pessimistic tone.
½ February 16, 2015
Thanks to its drugged-out nature (and some melodrama to the mix), it's disgusting and depressing to look at while the viewing in general is torturous. The only appeals are a little on some nice shots of cinematography and Downey Jr.'s couple moments of performing nicely, despite being the face of the film's horrible nature. (C)
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