Susan Granger’s review of “DETROIT ROCK CITY” (New Line Cinema)
It’s 1978, and four Cleveland teens are trying to crash a KISS concert in Detroit to see their idols after their tickets are burned by a religious fanatic parent who swears that the group’s name is an acronym for “Knights in Satan’s Service” and is a member of M.A.T.M.O.K. (Mothers Against the Music of KISS). Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, Sam Huntington, and newcomer James De Bello are die-hard KISS fanatics and they’re determined to attend the concert – whether it involves winning front-row center seats in a radio contest, spiking a teacher’s pizza with hallucinogenic mushrooms, stealing a car, selling their bodies, robbing a convenience store, or sneaking by security. Between these escapades, they smoke dope and stop to beat up a car full of disco fans in some half-witted defense of rock ‘n’ roll. While the KISS members are prominently listed as part of the cast and Gene Simmons is a producer, they only appear for a couple of minutes on-stage amid pyrotechnics. But Mrs. Gene Simmons – better known as Playboy bunny Shannon Tweed – does drop in as a romantic interest, along with Natasha Lyonne and Melanie Lynskey. (The latter two are named ‘Christine’ and ‘Beth,’ which are names of KISS songs.) Carl V. Dupre’s screenplay seems to be lifted piecemeal from a myriad of coming-of-age movies and has so many hateful caricatures of Catholicism as to be quite offensive. Vulgar mockery of any religion is not funny. Director Adam Rifkin relishes the tasteless sexism of picturing a cheerleader on a toilet and visiting a male strip club filled with obnoxious women. And do you really want to watch Edward Furlong vomiting? On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Detroit Rock City” is a lame, loud 1 – one of the most feeble pictures of the year so far.