Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Detroit Rock City

Like Dick, another recent, uninspired, '70s-based would-be satire, Detroit Rock City takes a seemingly foolproof premise and screws it up. Focusing, like American Pie, on four poorly differentiated teenage boys on a semi-mythic quest—this time it's Kiss tickets rather than the loss of virginity—Detroit Rock City should at least be stupid fun. After all, how bad can a movie with Kiss, teen sex, Shannon Tweed, and a soundtrack with songs by the Ramones, Cheap Trick, and Sweet possibly be? Well, pretty bad. Detroit Rock City is such a stupid, painfully obvious, gratingly unfunny dud that it's unlikely to please even the most gullible and easy-to-please members of the Kiss army. Detroit Rock City gets just about everything wrong, starting with leads who are supposed to be fun-loving, party-hearty rebels but come off as vaguely loathsome, homophobic louts. The most irritating of the four—the eternally puppy-doggish Edward Furlong actually comes out relatively unscathed—is an angry stoner played by James DeBello as a younger, dumbed-down version of the character played by Jason Mewes in several Kevin Smith films. With an opening-credits sequence that seems designed to explain who Kiss is—as if audiences seeing a film named after a Kiss song with Kiss as its main attraction really need to be introduced to the money-grubbing band—Detroit Rock City never misses an opportunity to insult its audience. Want vomit jokes? Detroit Rock City's got 'em. Nostalgic for the hoary, oft-repeated (it was in Dick, too) gag in which a "square" accidentally takes powerful mind-altering drugs? Look no further. Detroit Rock City desperately tries to recapture the spirit and vibe of such seminal Kiss albums as Alive and Destroyer, but it's closer in spirit to the atrocious, mercenary, Diane Warren-penned ballad the band plays over the end credits.


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