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May 21, 2024

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Review

'Reno 911!' goes from TV screen to movie screen

March 1, 2007

“Reno 911!: Miami” is, obviously, the Comedy Central show’s first stab at generating laughs on the big screen, and fortunately, its format is one that’s fairly easy to adapt for the cinema, unlike a lot of TV sitcoms agonizingly stretched out to 90 minutes (I’m talkin’ to you, “Bewitched”). Though the movie pretty much follows the same hit-or-miss structure that the show tends to adopt, it’s safe to say that if you enjoy the misadventures of the Reno Sheriff’s Department on TV, you’ll have a good time with them at the nearest multiplex.

It’s business as usual in Reno, Nevada, where Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and deputies Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), Junior (Robert Ben Garant), Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver), Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Kimball (Mary Birdsong) and Williams (Niecy Nash) help keep the peace — and by that, I mean trying to capture the occasional stray chicken.

One day, the Reno crew is invited to a police convention in Miami. But while the officers expect a few days of booze and cheap strip clubs, a biochemical attack is launched on the convention, leaving all law enforcement officials under quarantine — except the men and women of Reno.

They take it upon themselves to bumblingly tackle Miami’s crime, which ends up landing them their biggest case ever when they cross paths with a Scarface-like gangster (Paul Rudd).

It’s clichéd to describe a movie based off a TV show as essentially a longer episode of the show, but that’s what “Reno 911!: Miami” pretty much is. There’s more swearing and some good ol’ gratuitous nudity, but other than that, the jokes and nearly non-existent plot are the same as they are on cable. The faux-”Cops” presentation is back (although the flick often drops it at its own convenience), the main actors have returned, and the script is partially improvised as it is on the show. So is it a bad thing that both versions of the same comedy are so similar? Not necessarily.

Just as the average episode of “Reno 911!” has a good share of chuckles as well dry patches of humor, so does “Reno 911!: Miami.” There are plenty of funny scenes here, the best of which include a cameo appearance from The Rock and a sex scene that takes a turn for the unexpected. The cast also seems to be enjoying themselves, having as much fun as a team here as they do on the show. Still, although “Reno 911!: Miami” has a pretty short running time, a lot of that is comprised of some lame jokes, tired filler and a wannabe Scarface subplot that seems like it was stolen from the eighth “Police Academy” movie.

“Reno 911!: Miami” approaches comedy like it’s making spaghetti; it cooks up a bunch of gags and throws them on the wall, and your enjoyment depends on how much ends up sticking. For me, “Reno 911!: Miami” didn’t warrant enough for a return meal, but it was satisfying enough for the 80 minutes the movie lasted.

A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.

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