Detroit Rock City

on August 13, 1999 by Annlee Ellingson
KISS refuses to surrender its glam rock glory of the late '70s in this self-indulgent ode to the band and its die-hard fans. Hawk (Edward Furlong), Jam (cutie Sam Huntington), Trip (James DeBello) and Lex (Giuseppe Andrews) are four teenage rockers who, beleaguered by the disco rage, are determined to finally see their heroes in concert, come hell or high water. Unfortunately, Jam's satanically devout Catholic mother and Trip's hysteric stupidity leave them ticketless with two hours to go before showtime. It's each man for himself, and the boys set out to score (pun intended) any way they can-by stripping for cash, beating up a little kid or simply sneaking in. If they happen to get the girl along the way, well, so be it. (Unfortunately, the only girl of any import here is "American Pie's" Natasha Lyonne who has a suitably sassy but disappointingly minimal role.)
   The plot here is admittedly thin-any personal growth occurs purely by accident. But director Adam Rifkin and screenwriter Carl Dupré pad the flick with fancy camerawork, clever one-liners, silly slapstick comedy and classic gross-out moments to keep the audience entertained. KISS fans will get a kick out of the opening credits' historic footage and KISS memorabilia spread generously throughout the mise-en-scene, but the rockers' climactic performance is too short, too choppy and too removed from both the boys and the viewer. Starring Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello and Sam Huntington. Directed by Adam Rifkin. Written by Carl V. Dupré. Produced by Gene Simmons, Barry Levine and Kathleen Haase. A New Line release. Comedy. Rated R for strong language, drug use and sex-related content. Running time: 95 min
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