Less Than Zero is a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, published in 1985. It was his first published effort, released while he was 21 and still in college. The film version stars Andrew McCarthy as Clay, a college freshman returning home for Christmas to spend time with his ex-girlfriend and best friend slash drug addict, played by Robert Downey, Jr. It received mixed reviews among critics. Ellis hated the film initially but his view of it later softened. He insists that the film bears no resemblance to his novel and felt that it was miscast with the exceptions of Downey and Spader.