Totally '80s! That is "Less Than Zero" in 2 words. Another title could have been "Just Say No", as this movie was a huge anti-cocaine movie at the end of the '80s. The movie hits you over the head with it. Is the movie fun? Yes. is the movie an awesome time capsule fo the '80s? Yes. Does it feel like an MTV made movie? Yes. "Less Than Zero" is entertaining & memorable, and that is what films aim for, right? It is popcorn fun, but let's discuss a few things.
1. The Christmas dinner scene needs to be saved as a time capsule for the '80s. The clothes, hair, decorations, paint, and make up all scream the '80s. It was like the '80s exploded in that room. That horrible toast with the awkward blended family dinner was unintentionally funny. What were we thinking in the '80s? The shoulder pads are atrocious. They not only pop shoulders up an inch or two but they jut them out beyond the normal shoulder curve.
2. James Spader plays the jerk, Robert Downey Jr. is the wild card and Andrew McCarthy is the good boy. This was an '80s formula. Spader played a jerk in multiple '80s films, and really sells his gay drug dealer character well. I enjoy his work (great work on one ep of Seinfeld), and wish he had a bigger career. McCarthy has the same face in everything and is a horrible actor. "But I love her", might have been his most repeated line in all of his movies. Wooden acting could not extend his career once his looks started to change. Downey does a great job and is incredibly charismatic. I loved the little scene he had with McCarhty's sister. I always liked Downey but considered him the Scott Weiland of acting in the '90s where he had a lot of talent but loved heroin. I am glad he cleaned up. Prison can change some people.
3. Their smiles are all off except Spader, including Gertz. Hollywood before widespread use of veneers is interesting to see. Same goes for Gertz and Downey's old noses.
4. Why did Gertz not have a bigger career? She was in "The Lost Boys", "Square Pegs" and this... and then did nothing. She plays the coke party girl well, and all of her dialogue when high seems pretty authentic. She turned down the role of Monica on "Friends". I bet she wishes she had that one back.
5. The apartment McCarthy has as a frosh 'back east' in college has the biggest bedroom I have seen an 18 year old have. That could be in a movie in 1987, but not now. Too many people know about how college works and how expensive an apartment is in NYC.