Reno 911!: Miami Review

Feb 23, 2007 | 9:55am EST

Well "story" might be a strong word but it could be no other way for a movie version of the hit Comedy Central TV show. After the Reno police squad—deputies Travis Junior (Ben Garant) Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash) Cherisha Kimball (Mary Birdsong) Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney) Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey) James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui) S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough) and Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon)—makes a grand if dubious entrance the officers receive the news that they’ve been invited to the "American Police Convention" in Miami Beach. Following the cross-country trek from Nevada to Florida—by bus mind you—they’re immediately fish out of water in fast-paced party-friendly Miami but that all changes when a terrorist attack strands all local police. Suddenly the entire metropolis falls under the jurisdiction of the eight inept officers from Reno and that’s (supposed to be) a very funny proposition. The whole cast from the Reno 911 TV show is on board here and the actors are just as goofy on the big screen as they are on the small one—only now they’re more Police Academy than Cops spoofers. Indeed the sly wry humor is mostly gone but these well-traveled actors make it work more than it should. Namely Lennon as the Daisy Dukes-donning lieutenant and Kenney as the always-awkward Trudy. (It should be noted that she not only looks and acts like Rachel Dratch’s twin but the Reno Sheriff's Department would probably be a great fit for the SNL/30 Rock actress.) The rest of the actors simply stretch out their TV personas to movie versions and is it ever a stretch! Very funny cameos from Danny DeVito David Koechner (Anchorman) Patton Oswalt (TV’s The King of Queens)—whose role is more integral than a mere cameo—and Paul Rudd as a hilarious Scarface-like drug lord render the acting at least not to blame for Reno: Miami’s woes. The main story here is predictably the lack of a story. It’s fine and in fact expected to have a thin story line for Reno: Miami lest stoner audiences have to think but at least there could’ve been a mock story. Even the Scary Movies find a better way to connect their spoof vignettes but there’s essentially nothing going on here. And it’s not safe to assume that viewers of the Reno TV show will enjoy the movie because the TV show consists of more bizarre inane and dry humor than does the movie. That’s the problem with transferring such a show to the big screen: Everything must be fleshed out when it’s not meant to be. Writer-producer-director-star (!) Ben Garant who also co-wrote mega-hit Night at the Museum with Reno costar Thomas Lennon is thus the prime suspect here. When Garant brings the humor it’s golden and similar to that from the show but he doesn’t allow it to pop up often instead trying to attract a wider younger fan base via sex gags and pratfalls—some of which fail so badly it’s embarrassing.

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