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Reno 911!: Miami (2007)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 6/19/2007
All ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/31/07
Over the last 20 years or so, Hollywood has had a love affair with making feature films from older TV shows. In the 1990s, we saw a pattern of movies based on characters from Saturday Night Live. But, in the realm of TV-to-Big Screen, there's an even rarer beast: the movie based on a TV show which is still on the air. In the past, we've seen this happen with popular shows such as The X-Files and South Park. And now we've got a film based on a show with more of a cult following Reno 911!: Miami.
Reno 911!: Miami retains the familiar look and feel of the Comedy Central show. The show is essentially a spoof of the FOX series Cops. In Reno 911!, a "camera crew" follows the daily exploits of the officers of the Reno Sheriff's Department, who are all bumbling fools. The film features all of the characters from the show: Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), Deputy James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Deputy Cherisha Kimball (Mary Birdsong), Deputy Travis Junior (Ben Garant), Deputy Trudy Weigel (Kerry Kenney-Silver), Deputy Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash), and Deputy S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough). All of these characters have their own idiosyncrasies, the most famous being the hot pants which Dangle wears as part of his uniform.
As the film opens, the officers decide that they will attend the American Police Convention in Miami, Florida. When they arrive in Miami, the convention officials have no record of the Reno Sheriff’s Department’s registration, so the group can’t enter the convention center or hotel. So, they check in to a local dive motel and, being in Miami, go party. The next day, they visit the convention center again, only to find that a viral outbreak has occurred and that all local law enforcement has now been quarantined inside. Thus, the Reno cops are the only police officers in the area. So, they hit the streets of Miami to enforce the law and attempt to stay alive.
I must admit that during Reno 911's four seasons on the air, I've only seen about half of one episode. I tried to watch the show when it premiered in 2003, but it just didn't grab me. (Perhaps I found the idea of a Cops spoof a bit uninspired.) Therefore, I'm not familiar with the characters and their dichotomies. Perhaps if I was, I would have understood more of the film and enjoyed it more.
Having said that, Reno 911!: Miami is still a very funny movie. The bulk of the film (and the show) is improvised and the gifted comedians in the cast really propel this movie. Writers Lennon, Garant, and Kenney create situations (such as a beached whale) and the actors put their own particular spin on it. The movie does have a semblance of a cohesive plot, but the bulk of the second act is simply a series of vignettes where the officers are attempting to keep the peace in Miami.
The unscripted nature of the film allows for many types of humor to be on display. One minute the movie is spoofing Scarface, and the next we get some very simple, but effective, slapstick. The movie has some great lines, many of which are quite quotable, and it's amazing to think that some were made up on the spot. (Trudy's assessment of the cheap motel really got me.) In terms of taste, most of the humor is very lowbrow, especially the scene portraying the group's first night in Miami...but it's still funny. If I had one complaint about the movie, it would be that the humor skews more silly, and it's always as clever as I would have liked.
As far as I can tell, Reno 911!: Miami is simply a bigger, longer episode of the show. However, that approach seems to have worked, as the movie is a surprisingly fun comedy. At just over 80 minutes, the movie breezes by and the jokes come very quickly, but there are several genuinely funny moments here. In addition, the movie contains some great cameos (which I won't reveal). Fans of the Reno 911 show will certainly love this movie. For those like me who aren't overly familiar with the show, the movie isn't necessarily a good introduction to the characters, but it's a light comedy which is definitely worth a rental.
Reno 911!: Miami travels cross-country on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing basically no grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, most notably the blues and the reds. The image shows a nice amount of depth and the image is never overly dark. I noted some trace video noise during some shots, but otherwise the transfer looks good. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There are some nice stereo effects and a few notable surround sound effects, especially during crowd scenes. The action scenes exhibit a nice amount of subwoofer action.
The DVD has a few extra features. There are three AUDIO COMMENTARIES on the DVD. The first features the film's three writers, Ben Garant (who also directed), Thomas Lennon, and Kerri Kenney-Silver. This is a fun commentary as the three not only discuss the making of the movie, but they offer many anecdotes about the characters and the actors who have smaller roles in the movie. The commentary is also vital as they explain how the order of certain events was changed in editing (which explains why Trudy's sunburn keeps coming and going.) The other two commentaries feature the actors in character. One has Dangle, Junior, Wiegel, and Williams, while the other has Garcia, Johnson, Jones, and Kimball (no word on why these were recorded separately). There are definitely some funny moments here, especially when they question the validity of the "documentary" they are watching, but the schtick also wears thin pretty quickly. The DVD has 6 scenes listed as EXTENDED SCENES. In actuality, three are extended scene, one is a new scene (although parts of it are glimpsed in the credits), and the last two are actually very long (21 and 23 minutes respectively) scenes which show tons of footage which wasn't in the film. There are four "Public Service Announcements" (although I'm not sure where they were shown) which relate to seeing Reno 911!: Miami in the theater. The one where Trudy freaks out is hilarious. "Fox Movie Channel Presents World Premiere" (5 minutes) is exactly what it sounds like, with the actors appearing in character. The last extra is the trailer for the film, letterboxed at 1.85:1.
On September 23, 2008, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released Reno 911: Miami: More Busted Than Ever. This DVD contains the unrated cut of the film, plus some extras which weren't included on the previous release. We get the same AUDIO COMMENTARY from Garant, Lennon, and Kenney-Silver which was on the previous DVD. This new DVD contains a cut entitled "Reno: 911!: The Lost Version" which runs 69 minutes. This is simply a bizarre alternate cut of the movie which has essentially the same plot, but includes different scenes. This version is not necessarily a "must have", but it's definitely worth watching, as there is some truly funny material here. "Intro to The Lost Version" (3 minutes) has Dangle, Junior, and Wiegel attempting to explain this cut of the movie. The DVD contains a 5-minute "Blooper Reel". This DVD offers four new EXTENDED SCENES which can be viewed with optional commentary. Three of these are more like deleted scenes, and while the last one contains some funny stuff, it's obvious why the others were cut. We get three "Public Service Announcements" which are different from those on the previous release, but don't come close to Wiegel's rant. Finally, we have the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the movie.
Review Copyright 2007-2008 by Mike Long