March 1, 2007

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Reno 911: Miami (R)
Reno’s sad and lazy sheriff’s department takes its dimwitted approach to law enforcement to Miami in Reno 911: Miami, a movie adaptation of the far more successful Comedy Central show.

Because stretching the shtick of a Cops-but-stupider show to nearly four times its size requires a plot, the gang in Reno hop on a bus to Miami for a national law enforcement convention. That’s Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and his deputies — Travis Junio (Ben Garant), Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash), Cherisha Kimball (Mary Birdsong), Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney), Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui) and S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough). When they find they don’t have reservations at the convention, they take their appalling vacation clothes and their various sexual tendencies and head to a cheap motel. On arriving at the conference’s second day, the crew finds out that all the nation’s law enforcement have been poisoned and are stuck inside the hotel. It’s now up to them to patrol Miami.

Forget about the logic of that. Any given 20 minutes of the gang patrolling the beach, checking out a noise complaint at Suge Knight’s house, dealing with an alligator or simply trying to work the big city police equipment is funny. Even scenes of the police being amateurishly non-tortured by cartoonish “Cuban” drug dealer Ethan the Drug Lord (Paul Rudd) contain laughs. Not snort-soda-out-your-nose hilarious but regularly and moderately funny. The movie offers what any half hour of Reno 911 does — cleverly stupid humor best enjoyed in small bites.

The problem, of course, with Reno 911: Miami is that you can’t just watch 20 minutes and take the rest home for later. In order to get 84 minutes to hang together, the movie has had to connect it with bits of schemes and plots and arcs — not a lot, obviously, but just enough to get in the way of the kind of dumb-funny a Reno regular is looking for. Looking for more than just a half hour of Reno 911? For less than the price of two adult tickets and a bucket of popcorn you can always buy yourself a season DVD set. C+

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language and drug use. Directed by Ben Garant and written by Garant, Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney, Reno 911: Miami is an hour and 24 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Paramount Pictures.