Clay, an eighteen-year-old freshman, comes back from his first term at Princeton to spend his Christmas vacation with his broken-up wealthy family in Los Angeles. His former girlfriend, Blair, is now involved with his ex-best-friend, Julian. She warns Clay that Julian needs help: he is using a lot of cocaine and has huge debts. What follows is a look at the youth culture of wealthy post adolescents in Beverly Hills with a strong anti-drug message. Apart from the setting and the names, the film has very little to do with Bret Easton Ellis's book by the same title on which it was based. Written by
Jeroen van Bree <J.vBree@kub.nl>
"Less Than Zero" was one of my favorite novels of all time, combining a "Catcher in the Rye" for the excessive L.A. in the '80's sorta mentality. Unfortunately this film was in production during the very height of the "just say no to drugs" Nancy Reagan campaign. I remember reading in the L.A. Times how the producers were stating that they changed the character Clay to an avid anti-drug crusading hero instead of the bisexual, morally confused coked-out protagonist Ellis' novel made him out to be.
What a waste. This movie is ridiculous, containing absolutely none of the ambience of the novel. Instead we get stupid visuals (a party with 20 TVs all stacked up on one another, an idiotic fight at a party in Palm Springs with beautiful coked-out people looking on), that lend little to promote the plot. Essential characters from the novel (like Trent) that could have helped explain the relationships are missing. It's almost as if the screenwriters intentionally tried to make this movie as illogical as possible.
I met Ellis' sister once. She told me that Bret was so embarrassed by what they did to his film that he refused to go to the premiere. Can anyone blame him?
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