|Reno 911!: Miami (2007)
Starring: Thomas Lennon,
Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney, Cedric Yarbrough, Carlos Alazraqui, Wendi
McLendon-Covey, Niecy Nash, Mary Birdsong
Director: Robert Ben Garant
It may be too early to say, but when all is said and done, “Reno 911!: Miami” might go down as one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Forget that the series, which has been a critical success since it first aired on Comedy Central, packs more wit and zany behavior into a single episode than most shows these days, because you simply wouldn’t believe it after sitting through this spotty 84-minute feature. Everything that’s great about the small screen version has been replaced with the kind of dumb jokes and missed opportunities that you’d expect from a direct-to-video “American Pie” flick, and frankly, it deserves much, much better.
The misadventures of Reno’s finest make the jump to the big screen when Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and his gang of misfits are invited to the Miami Beach Police Convention, but upon arriving, learn that they didn’t properly register for the event. Ushered out of the convention center and sent packing, the sheriffs return the next day to discover that a bio-chemical attack has forced a quarantine on every able lawmen in the state. Much to the chagrin of Homeland Security, the Reno Sheriff Department is recruited to keep the peace on the streets and track down the antidote to the virus.
Despite a relatively strong opening that finds Dangle and Co. chasing down a wild chicken on the highway, the film quickly collapses as soon as they set foot in Miami. Imagine the worst episode of “Reno 911!,” take it down a few notches, and then stretch 22-minutes worth of jokes into a feature-length film and you’ll know exactly what to expect from “Reno 911!: Miami.” Gone are the amusing encounters between the deputies and eccentric locals. Gone are the brilliant cameos by guys like Oscar Nunez and Patton Oswalt (though the latter does appear in the film). Instead, the audience is forced to sit through a bad night at the improv club, where most of the jokes fall flat or never even develop. In fact, there’s so much dead space in between the handful of giggle-worthy gags that you could literally take a short nap with no consequences. Trust me, my guest fell asleep midway through the film and didn’t miss a single thing.
Sure, Paul Rudd cashes in a favor as an evil drug lord (doing his worst Tony Montana impression), and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson makes an early cameo as a super-cop who butterfingers a live grenade, but everything else feels so uninspired that it couldn’t possibly be coming from the same creative team. Unfortunately, it is, and though many of the show’s diehard fans will likely rush to theaters to see its big screen debut, you’d be better off staying home and watching reruns on Comedy Central.
Thanks to the combination of a decent box office performance and the sheer fact that, well, these guys love what they’re doing, the unrated DVD of “Reno 911: Miami” is loaded with hours of special features. Highlighted by three audio commentary tracks (the first with cast members Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver, and the other two with the entire cast in character), the single-disc release also includes a handful of extended scenes and PSAs (meant to be shown before the movie), as well as a short featurette on the film’s world premiere.