Less Than Zero
Less Than Zero or St. Elmo's Fire redux is the aptly titled '80s brat-pack film crammed full of style but devoid of substance. That's substance, not substances. Substances, mostly of the illegal kind, abound in this beautiful-but-bored children-of-millionaires saga starring Robert Downey Jr., Andrew McCarthy, and Jami Gertz. The three barely conscious Beverly Hills residents are best friends and recent high school graduates looking to find meaning, or at least a good buzz, in their shapeless and angst-ridden lives. They all live in beyond-fabulous houses with parents who spend their days at the country club, give their kids $100,000 cars, and keep their local plastic surgeons in business. Clay (McCarthy), who has opted to go to college, hopes to take girlfriend Blair (Gertz) along with him. But when she decides to stay in L.A., she takes up with Julian (Downey), who tries and fails at being a record producer and a disco club owner, but excels at being a drug addict and eventually a male prostitute. Fashion model Blair has her own cocaine addiction, but despite her continually runny nose, her passive-aggressive behavior, and her insipid demeanor, Clay wants her back anyway (hey, she looks hot!). Their holiday turns into one long lost weekend as they rush from party to party and nightclub to nightclub in search of each other, more drugs, and cool settings to show off their trendy clothes. James Spader serves as sleazy drug dealer to this moneyed crowd with too much time on their hands. Everything about Less Than Zero feels as cold as steel, including the rich, deep color tones, the cool-as-ice sets, and the mind-numbing sex scenes that are about as hot as glacial drift. However, the film is prescient of Downey's real-life drug problems, right down to the Palm Springs hotel suite. Fox's DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with Dolby 4.0 audio. Gallery of trailers and TV spots, keep-case.