Movie Reviews

Reno 911!: Miami

Reviewed by: Edward Douglas
Rating: 7 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Thomas Lennon as Lieutenant Jim Dangle
Robert Ben Garant as Deputy Travis Junior
Niecy Nash as Deputy Raineesha Williams
Mary Birdsong as Deputy Cherisha Kimball
Kerri Kenney-Silver as Deputy Trudy Wiegel
Wendi McLendon-Covey as Deputy Clementine Johnson
Carlos Alazraqui as Deputy James Garcia
Cedric Yarbrough as Deputy S. Jones
Paul Rudd as Ethan the Druglord
Kyle Dunnigan as Drug Lord's First Hostage
Marisa Petroro as Drug Lord's Girlfriend
Lennie Loftin as Chief of Police
Danny DeVito as District Attorney
David Koechner as Sheriff of Aspen
Patton Oswalt as Jeff Spoder
Toby Huss as Glen the Desk Clerk
Cathy Shim as Spring Break Dream Girl
Ian Roberts as Captain Rogers, DHS
Chris Tallman as Alligator Expert
Tamara Fox Meyerson as Tammy
David Wain as Breen the Plumber
Michael Patrick Jann as Tattoo Shop Owner #1
Nick Swardson as Terry
Joe Lo Truglio as Tattoo Shop Owner #2
Ken Marino as Deaf Tattoo Artist
Michael Ian Black as Ron of Ron's Tattoo
Michael Showalter as Paul
Mindy Sterling as Spoder's Mom

Directed by Robert Ben Garant

Summary:
Tons of funny, raunchy gags make this transition from small to big screen worthwhile, but mainly for fans of the show who might be forgiving of the low-end production values and cobbled-together plot.

Story:
The deputies of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department are invited down to the National Sheriffs' Convention in Miami, Florida (everyone is invited!) but once down there, they discover that their credentials have been lost, making them the only police not in the convention center when a local druglord (Paul Rudd) unleashes a deadly chemical on the convention leaving the Reno deputies to try to find the antidote.

Analysis:
Whenever a popular TV show or skit is brought to the big screen, there's always the worry that the money thrown into making it more worthy of theatres will take away what makes the show or skit so special. It's happened so many times before that when "Reno 911!: Miami" opens with a scene in which our favorite Reno deputies show up dressed as if they were cops in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, fans of the show might begin to worry. Fortunately, those worries are short-lived as this opening gag is followed by a return to the TV show's normal handheld camera production values, using a similar documentary format that combines improvised skits interspersed with an actual story.

Even if you've never seen the show, it's not too hard to figure out everyone's identity and personal hang-up, though most of the jokes involve the team being out of their element and watching them be just as incompetent when having access to the latest and best technology used by a metropolitan police force. This is clearly the movie in which Thomas Lennon's Lt. Dangle shines, as the Miami setting allows him to let his sexuality and his ass cheeks hang out, as his overly-skimpy shorts seem more appropriate. Director/writer Ben Garrant's Junior takes a bit more of a back seat, though one of the funniest scenes involves him and Lennon crashing a hip-hop party and barely getting out with their lives. Other funny bits involve Kerry Kenney's Weigel and Nicey Nash's Deputy Williams hanging out at the beach or killing time at the station with some solid improvised bits.

The question most people will wonder is whether the show's humor can sustain a longer story, but it's not much of a concern because the bits that work really kill as they take full advantage of the movie's R-rating to go beyond the show's risqué humor into full-on raunch. Despite the new environment, all the dysfunctional relationships from the show are still in place, heightened by the lack of inhibitions that comes from being on vacation, and the deputy's sexual frustration leads to an outrageous sequence that could only be described as a "masturbation montage," something that would never have flown even on cable.

The recurring jokes from the show work fine, but even at just 84 minutes long, some of the weaker subplots have trouble sustaining themselves over the course of the movie. Other gags run out of steam before their pay-off during the end credits. The best example is what would have been a throwaway involving a mysterious face tattooed on Clementine's ample breast after a one-night stand. While this bit gives an excuse to have former members of "The State" making cameos as Clementine searches Miami's tattoo parlors, anyone paying attention will figure out the identity without putting nearly as much work or thought into it as she does.

At least, they're able to use the expanded format to explore some of the regular supporting cast like Nick Swardson's roller-skating junkie-prostitute Terry, who makes a few brief appearances like on the show that are resolved with a rather enlightening revelation about his true origins. There are also a number of funny cameos--one of them is so funny that it would be a shame to ruin it--but the most substantial role by a non-cast member comes from Paul Rudd, as he channels Al Pacino's Tony Montana as the local crimelord, creating all sorts of trouble for the visiting deputies.

You don't have to be a regular viewer of the show to understand what's going on and get more than a few laughs out of the situations, but some might wonder why they decided to make this for a theatrical release without putting a bit more time into making the film look better on the big screen. In that sense, it's that precarious balance trying to make a movie that feels like the television show which keeps "Reno 911!: Miami" from being as great as it should have been.

The Bottom Line:
While "Reno 911!: Miami" might not be the funniest cop comedy ever made, fans of the show will certainly want to see how the characters are used in a longer story outside their normal environment. For the poor souls who've been deprived by their lack of basic cable, this is a decent introduction to the characters and the humor found on the show without all those pesky bleeps and blurs. Either way, you'll probably never want to see Thomas Lennon's ass again after seeing this movie.

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