3 Stars
Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 84 minutes
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When a police convention in Miami is hit with a biological weapon, leaving the city unable to field a police force (apparently every officer in the Dade County area was in the convention center at the time), it’s up to the somewhat brave and unusually dim officers of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department to maintain order and decency. Are they up to the challenge? Your guess is as good as mine, but if you’re a regular viewer of Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!,” you probably know that these particular cops are up there with Chief Wiggum and “Car 54’s” Toody and Muldoon as law enforcement personnel you’d rather not have taking an interest in your affairs.

Such is the plot of “Reno 911!: Miami,” which finds our trusty khaki-clad deputies drafted to respond to emergency calls and perform other, less critical tasks. While all this is going on, a mysterious drug lord keeps kidnapping Garcia and Jones (Carlos Alazraqui and Cedric Yarbrough), Wiegel (Kerri Kenney) is still unhealthily obsessed with the fabulous yet firm Dangle (Thomas Lennon), and Clementine (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is desperately trying to figure out who the guy tattooed on her breast is.

The side plots are necessary, because the bio-terror plot is barely enough to flesh out a half-hour sitcom, much less an 84-minute movie, so the rather large detours that are taken serve a larger purpose. Happily for us, no uncomfortable situation is left unexplored, and fans who have been chafing at the limits of broadcast television will get more breasts, buttocks, and f-bombs than they can shake a stick at.

“Reno 911!: Miami,” like the TV show itself, is largely improvised. This works best in the context of the ensemble cast, who have had four years to hone their characters and establish a comfort zone. Also like the show, the framework is that of a “COPS”-style reality series. This doesn’t work quite as well, since the movie is meant to be more of a narrative. The cameos are a bit hit and miss, though the fates of characters played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Paul Rudd more than make up for this. On the whole, there are plenty of yuks, including a shot closing the first act that is so perfect from conception to execution I was almost puking from laughter.

As someone who’s never actually seen an entire episode of the series, I have to wonder how easy it will for fans to return to the comparatively limiting framework of Comedy Central, especially after Junior’s profanity-laced comparison of Reno to Mayberry (they’re largely identical, except for the meth and prostitution), or the numerous shots of Raineesha’s (Niecy Nash) barely clad posterior. Whatever the final analysis, “Reno 911!: Miami” is a welcome breath of fresh air in a year that’s already forced audiences to endure the likes of “Norbit.”

Posted on February 25, 2007 in Reviews by

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