guppy's film reviews

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Reno 911!: Miami

Year: 2007
Director: Robert Ben Garant
Notable Actors: Danny DeVito
Score: C
Summary: I have no idea why this is a feature film.

Okay, I'll admit it. I like Reno 911! It's been a guilty pleasure of mine for a few years now; it's inconsistent, but when it's on, it's really on. Unfortunately, I can't be as excited about Reno 911!: Miami.

For those unfamiliar with it, Reno 911! is a Comedy Central show that parodies long-running police tagalong program Cops. It follows the life and times of the hopelessly incompetent Reno Sheriff's department (which doesn't exist, incidentally; Reno has its own full-fledged PD). The interesting thing about the show is that it doesn't have scripts. Each scene has a loose outline of what needs to be accomplished, but the actors improvise all the details. I have been given to understand that each 22-minute episode is created by whittling down about four hours of footage. While this leads to some uneven notes, overall the result is a lot of fun.

The good news is that Miami is more consistently entertaining than the roller coaster of highs and lows that is a season of the show. The bad news is that it's rarely particularly brilliant and there's no good reason that this is a movie instead of maybe a two-part episode of the regular show.

I haven't seen all of the show's episodes, but there is a new (or at least new to me) deputy (Mary Birdsong). She is the focus of only one joke, which is brought up maybe twice. I don't know why she exists.

The only actor whose work stands out this time around is Thomas Lennon as Lieutenant Jim Dangle, and that may be because his role as head of the department is meatier than the rest. The remainder of the cast has phenomenal chemistry, however, so they work very well as an ensemble.

The film has only occasional moments of brilliance, but those are excellent, and the movie is reasonably consistent throughout. It is very short, however, weighing in at only 84 minutes, lending weight to my argument that it should have been part of a regular season. And some of that could have been cut without losing much.

The film has been criticized for having a plot. I can understand the complaint -- I had the same issue with Super Troopers, for example -- but in this case I felt the plot was necessary to hold the movie together.

I don't regret seeing the movie, but I don't know that I'd recommend it to everyone. Give it a look if you're a fan of the show and nothing else catches your eye. It's not bad entertainment, there just isn't enough there to warrant a full-scale film production.


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