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Reno 911!: Miami
Ah, the Healing Power of Comedy
by Mel Valentin on Feb 23, 2007
Any film with a patently absurd title like Reno 911!: Miami shouldn’t be taken seriously. Luckily, it's the first (and perhaps last) big screen adaptation of Comedy Central's long-running half-hour comedy, "Reno 911!" (a parody of "Cops"). An obtrusive television crew follows sheriff’s deputies around as they go about their business. Most of it is routine (e.g., daily roll calls, patrols), but the deputies never know what to expect when they're sent out to answer 911 calls of crimes in progress. More often than not, their ineptness and lack of smarts means the criminal gets away or if they catch the criminal, it's due to luck more than anything else. High hilarity and raunchy ridiculousness often result.
The Reno, Nevada sheriff's department receives a non-exclusive invite for a police officers convention in Miami, Florida. Seeing it as a great opportunity to hobnob with fellow law enforcement officers, the tight shorts-favoring Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) decides to bring along his entire staff: the crew cut- and sunglasses wearing Travis Junior (Robert Ben Garant); the sassy, take-no-guff Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash); the butch-but-not-a-lesbian Cherisha Kimball (Mary Birdsong); the has-a-perpetual-crush-on-Dangle Trudy Wiegel (Kerry Kenney-Silver); the sexually adventurous Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey); the missing-any-distinguishing features James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui); and the lone African-American male, S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough).
Once in Miami, Dangle finds out that convention organizer's database has no trace of Reno’s finest. Without a pass to the convention or hotel rooms, Dangle and his posse improvise, setting up camp in a run-down motel. The release of a deadly toxin (by terrorists presumably) onto the convention floor means that Miami is minus a police force. Dangle and his crew offer up their services to the assistant deputy mayor (Patton Oswalt), who grudgingly allows them to take over day-to-day policing of Miami, which Dangle and his deputies do, to often deleterious results for everyone involved. Meanwhile, a heavily accented drug lord (Paul Rudd) keeps kidnapping Garcia and Jones, threatening to torture them if they don't reveal everything they know about a "Mr. Big".
A wise friend who’s no longer with us once said comedy is the most subjective of genres whatever the media (by that he meant that one person's funny is another person's unfunny). It's hard to find a better example than Reno 911!: Miami to prove the point. If you're a fan of the television series, then you're familiar with the characters, the recurring soap opera elements (unrequited lust everywhere), and the mix of physical comedy with verbal humor that pushes the envelope for basic cable. But, not surprisingly, "Reno 911!" isn't for everyone (e.g., viewers who prefer their humor on the intellectual side).
With an "R" rating (for raunch, of course), Reno 911!: Miami has few, if any, limitations. Thankfully, the "R" rating isn't just an excuse for throwing around F-bombs (a few, to be honest) or indulging in splashes of blood or gore (there is that, though). When the cast of Reno 911!: Miami is on, as in the opening scene involving a night time rescue mission or a later scene that plays out as a pornographic homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, the humor is brilliant and demented.
Unfortunately, with "Reno 911!'s" feature-length running time (almost four times the length of an average episode), the humor-to-scene ratio begins to lag and the jokes begin to grow stale and repetitive. Ultimately that means that Reno 911!: Miami has been padded to reach the 80-minute mark. Still, if you happen to be a fan of the show, then the big screen adaptation will be more than worth a foray to your local multiplex. If you're haven’t given the basic cable version of "Reno 911!" a chance, then what are you waiting for?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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by Mel Valentin on Feb 23, 2007