Detroit Rock City

  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1999

Common Sense Media says

A valentine to sex, drugs, and cutting school.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1999

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive role models

The main characters are sexist, but female characters are strong and smart.

Violence

Some violence. Characters in peril, hold-up at gunpoint.

Sex

Typical for a teen comedy, the boys talk a lot about sex.

Language

The usual words.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drug use, including marijuana and drinking that results in getting sick.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is something of a valentine to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, to say nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, destroying property, and cutting school. Much of the humor in the film will be lost on people who don't know every KISS lyric and remember the KISS comic with the band's blood mixed into the red ink.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

DETROIT ROCK CITY follows four high school boys who are die-hard KISS fans in spite of the overwhelming popularity of disco and the objections of the adults ("KISS stands for Knights In Satan's Service!") as they do everything they can think of to get seats to the concert in Detroit. One of the mothers burns their tickets and carts her son Jam (Sam Huntington) off to a Catholic boarding school that looks like it was dreamed up by Charles Addams. The other three have to figure out a way to spring him and to find four new tickets so they can see the show. This involves taking another mother's Volvo, feeding hallucinogenic mushroom pizza to a priest, entering a male stripper contest, foiling two separate robberies, stopping to have sex (one couple loses their virginity in a confessional), sneaking backstage, beating up some disco fans, getting beat up by various other people and by each other, and eventually making it into the sanctum sanctorum of the KISS live performance.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There is little originality, wit, or credibility in the script, but in its own way it is genial and unpretentious and ultimately more winning than some recent overly focus-grouped big studio releases. Much of the humor in the film will be lost on people who don't know every KISS lyric and remember the KISS comic with the band's blood mixed into the red ink. And it is something of a valentine to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, to say nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, destroying property, and cutting school. Furthermore, it is very much a male fantasy movie, with four teen-age boys triumphing over huge bad guys and winning over beautiful women. It also includes one of the key cliches of the teen movie -- the character who has sex for the first time becomes suddenly more mature, braver, wiser, and more powerful. Parents of kids who see this movie may want to discuss these issues.

Most kids will not be interested, however. To the extent that the movie has appeal beyond hardcore KISS fans and those who appreciate the 1970's references, it is due to its young stars (including Edward Furlong, Natasha Lyonne, and Melanie Lynskey) and the loyalty they show to each other, to their idols, and to their dreams. This lends the movie a welcome sweetness that leaves the audience almost as happy that they make it into the theater as they are.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about one of the key cliches of the teen movie -- the character who has sex for the first time who becomes suddenly more mature, braver, wiser, and more powerful.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 13, 1999
DVD release date:December 21, 1999
Cast:Edward Furlong, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Natasha Lyonne
Director:Adam Rifkin
Studio:New Line
Genre:Comedy
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language, drug use and sex-related content

This review of Detroit Rock City was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byalibiXarcade March 27, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Good but iffy.

It's one of my favorite movies of all time! A little obscene though.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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