Hot Cops 

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Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) leads the gang in a game of palm-Jenga. Courtesy photo.
Reno 911!: Miami
Dir. Robert Ben Garant; writ. Garant, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney; feat. Garant, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Cedric Yarbrough, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Niecy Nash (R)

The task of turning a television show into a feature film is not always easy (cf. Scooby-Doo), but Robert Ben Garant (Deputy Travis Junior), the writer, director, and star of Reno 911!: Miami did an excellent job translating the Comedy Central show to the big screen.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical that this feat could be accomplished. Questions such as, “Will Lieutenant Dangle’s (Thomas Lennon) shorts still reside ridiculously high above his pale knees and thighs?” and, “Will Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver) still find herself in awkward situations because of unnecessary sexual and/or racial remarks?” plagued my mind. These and other queries were quickly resolved within the first five minutes of the film, however, during a slow-mo montage of shots capturing Lt. Dangle soaring over a burning car on a motorcycle — while donning his flamboyant khaki hot-pants. At that moment, I realized the movie wasn’t out to fill a particular mold or please anybody, which is the right attitude to have when making a cleverly idiotic parody of the law-enforcement system.

The plotline is self-consciously ubercliché, which makes it humorous. The Reno Sheriff’s Department is invited to a national police conference in Miami, not because of their credentials, but because every squad in the country was offered the opportunity to attend. Lt. Dangle and his squad gladly travel to Miami only to discover that all of the other law-enforcement officials have been exposed to a lethal bio-chemical and are being temporarily quarantined in a convention center until an antidote is found … or until they die. In the meantime, it is up to Reno’s finest to maintain public order.

From their first mission in Reno 911!: Miami — capturing a stray chicken — to their final mission — saving an entire convention center full of law-enforcement officials from a bio-terror attack — the Reno Sheriff’s Department never fails to complete their objectives with a blissful disregard for professionalism. The film does not deviate much from the raw cuts and low-budget aura that gives the TV original its fake-reality-show feel. Rather, the show is extended into an 84-minute full-length film that takes place for the most part in Miami Beach and includes footage that probably cannot be broadcast on television (i.e., nudity, profanity, and sexual self-gratification).

With an audacity similar to Borat when it comes to subject matter, Reno 911!: Miami tackles behaviors and idiosyncrasies that mar many of our lives but are taboo to talk about openly.

Those familiar with the mid-’90s sketch comedy group The State will recognize many of the main characters as well as many guest appearances scattered throughout the film, including actors Michael Ian Black, David Wain, and Michael Showalter.

I have a feeling that Reno 911!: Miami is not going to win Best Picture next year, but sometimes a good, old-fashioned crude, slapstick movie about pathetic cops hits the spot.

More by John Haskell



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