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Dustin Putman

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Learn more about this film on IMDb!Reno 911!: Miami  (2007)
2 Stars
Directed by Robert Ben Garant
Cast: Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Robert Ben Garant, Niecy Nash, Cedric Yarbrough, Mary Birdsong, Carlos Alazraqui, Patton Oswalt, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Nick Swardson, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Danny DeVito, The Rock, Marisa Petroro, Toby Huss, Dave Holmes, Cathy Shim, Ian Roberts, Chris Tallman, Paul Reubens, Ken Marino, Mindy Sterling, Jack Plotnick
2007 – 84 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for sexual content, nudity, language and drug use).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, February 24, 2007.
The inaugural feature film adaptation of the popular Comedy Central series, "Reno 911!: Miami" falls into the trap of many television productions that set their sights on the big screen. Only marginally going further than what is already shown on the randy cable outlet—the big difference is the insertion of happily gratuitous female nudity—this movie version changes locales but is otherwise more of the same. It's very funny on occasion, thanks to the on-the-mark improvisational skills and sharp comedic delivery of its cast, but otherwise it is a wasted opportunity that squanders the chance to explore the bumbling characters beyond what has already been covered on the series.

The dimwitted staff of the Reno, Nevada, police department—flaming Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), square Deputy Trudy Weigel (Kerri Kenney-Silver), slutty Deputy Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), lesbian-in-denial Deputy Cherisha Kimball (Mary Birdsong), chick-crazy Deputy Travis Junior (Robert Ben Garant), nondescript Deputy James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), and proverbial token black Deputies Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash) and S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough)—are delighted beyond belief when they are invited to a national police convention in Miami. What they do not expect is that their minimal expertise and services will be called into action when all other police forces are exposed to a biochemical outbreak. Now it is up to Reno's misfitted finest to keep the streets of Miami safe and stop druglord Ethan (Paul Rudd) from transforming the city into a widespread narcotics cartel.

Like its TV counterpart, "Reno 911!: Miami" is a satire of "Cops" where the inept law enforcement is often just as much of a danger as the criminals they are after. Unlike "Reno 911!," the film moves away a bit from the documentary-like shooting style and into a more conventional narrative storytelling approach. There are plenty of giggles and a few guffaws to be had—a setpiece showing the sordid goings-on between off-duty officers at the grimy motel they are staying at is a prime example of inspired lunacy—but also a surprising amount of downtime where not much of interest happens. The myriad plot points and conflicts get in the way of what should have simply depicted the Reno police force let loose in foreign surroundings. At least as far as their disposable story goes, writer-director Robert Ben Garant and co-writers Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver show little imagination and resourcefulness in bringing new life to these larger-than-life small-screen characters.

The cast is the highlight, and deservedly so. Thomas Lennon (2005's "Herbie: Fully Loaded") is a stitch as the flamboyant leader of the pack, Lt. Jim Dangle, and Kerri Kenney-Silver is her usual scene-stealing self as the ever-awkward Deputy Trudy Wiegel. Kenney-Silver gets the bulk of the biggest laughs—she's such a talented comic performer that she could make reading the phone book a riotous experience—and especially shares a solid chemistry with the delightful Niecy Nash (2007's "Code Name: The Cleaner") as her Deputy Raineesha Williams valiantly attempts to teach the hopeless Trudy how to talk like she's from the street. In an ensemble without a weak link so much as less defined characters, Wendi McLendon-Covey (2005's "Bewitched") also stands out as sexpot Deputy Clementine Johnson, who spends most of the picture searching in vain for the place where she drunkenly got a tattoo of a strange guy on her breast.

"Reno 911!: Miami" has its crude little charms, but for a movie based upon such a cutting and acerbic series there is no excuse for how forgettable it ultimately is. The material, for once, is R-rated, and yet it seems to be lacking the spine that made "Reno 911!" such a cult favorite. When the climax arrives and tacks on even the ancient "slow clap" cliché with hardly a hint of facetiousness, it is a surefire sign that, somewhere between concept and final cut, this is a project that lost its way.
© 2007 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman