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'Detroit Rock City'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 13, 1999

  Movie Critic

'Detroit Rock City'
Four teenaged friends are determined to see a sold out KISS concert in "Detroit Rock City." (New Line Cinema)

Adam Rifkin
Edward Furlong;
Natasha Lyonne;
Sam Huntington;
James DeBello;
Giuseppe Andrews;
Melanie Lynskey;
Lin Shaye;
Running Time:
1 hour, 34 minutes
Contains much raunch, some nudity, profanity and drug use
Well, it could have been good. But this goofy homage to Kiss fans – with a 1970s-set story about four die-hards (led by Edward Furlong) who stop at nothing to make that concert in Detroit – gets dry mouth pretty fast. Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, Sam Huntington and newcomer James De Bello are likable as the foursome. But writer/director Adam Rifkin dispatches them all on multi-plotted, faux-Tarantino adventures of their own, which don't do more than play out.

The premise is that Kiss's slamming, tongue-wiggling rock music was the innocent, culturally pot-headed antidote to those "Stayin' Alive" disco-dancing geeks and nerds. (There's also a vanity guest appearance by Gene Simmons and the original Kiss band who appear as themselves in the aforementioned concert.) But the friends' stoned innocence isn't particularly compelling; nor is the silly love plot involving one of the Kiss bunch and former disco girl, Beth (Natasha Lyonne). And their ardent opposition, consisting of a one-dimensional, chain-smoking, God-fearing mother (Lin Shaye) who stages anti-Kiss rallies with a megaphone, and a rival collection of disco-crazy bullies, doesn't pack enough moxie to make the comedy rock.

The movie has its "Dumb and Dumber"-style moments, like the time the foursome brings an entire toilet booth tumbling down when they try to peep at a girl in the john. But really, this is no reason to paint your face, wiggle your tongue and play air guitar.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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