Less Than Zero [1987]

Dreary, pointless late-'80s novel by literary poseur Bret Easton Ellis focused on listless, shiftless, drug-sniffing, sex-swapping, dead-end California teens with too much money and time on their hands. Which just about sums up this movie, though it's not nearly as interesting as that. This is mostly due to the ridiculously cleaned-up script and lifeless direction, which whitewashes the baser depravity and replaces it with perversion-lite and fashion shows. It doesn't help that director Marek Kanievska is saddled with Brat Pack lesser (make that least) lights Andrew McCarthy and Jami Gertz. The only things that lift this film above the muck are the performances by James Spader as a particularly heinous drug dealer and Robert Downey Jr. as a rich-kid addict with no self-control. --Marshall Fine

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