Although the film retains material that is graphic for a studio movie, the ambitious project has ended as a rather conventional melodrama with a rather conventional love story. ”Less Than Zero,” in classic Hollywood slang, was ”meetinged to death” as executives and producer argued levels of decadence to ensure that it would not alienate audiences.
The film wasn’t helped by infighting among the executives. Larry Gordon, the president of Fox who had approved the purchase of the book, was replaced by Alan Horn, who was replaced by Leonard Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg found the material distasteful, but Barry Diller, the chairman of Fox, wanted to make the movie.