It's never a good sign when a film's press screening occurs the night before it opens. The film is instantly labeled a loser long before the opening credits even roll. So if Reno 911!: Miami was to be anything like its Comedy Central inspiration, then its 11th hour screening should come as a surprise. Unfortunately, for the most part, Miami is exactly what everyone expected it to be: raunchy and brainless. Yet, what I didn't expect was for Miami to be so bawdy, so unfunny, and so unlike its small screen roots that after the first 30 minutes I was so desperate to change the channel.
In Miami, all of the familiar bungling deputies from the TV show are part of the action, along with their hang-ups. Led by the short-shorts wearing Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon
), the inept Washoe County Sheriff's Department is "invited" to attend a national law enforcement convention in South Florida. But when the gang arrives, they quickly find themselves outclassed and left out of the convention's festivities. When a biohazard chemical is released at the convention, quarantining the nation's police force, Dangle and Company are the only uncontaminated law enforcement officers available to keep the streets of Miami safe. Article continues below
Say your prayers, Miami! The deputies can't even figure out how to answer calls at the city's 911 dispatch center. And once they finally do, they then have trouble getting the high-tech police squad cars moving. In the field, Deputies Travis Junior (Robert Ben Garant
) and James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui
) use a tourist map to find an animal disturbance call while Deputies Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash
) and Trudy Wiegal (Kerri Kenney
) patrol the beach in their undersized bathing suits. These events work, largely because they follow the television show's proven format. But the Cops-like police segments are quickly dropped in favor of cumbersome sexual exploits that detract from the story at hand. The well endowed Deputy Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey
) spends the entire movie on an exhaustive search for the tattoo parlor responsible for inking her breast.
At just over 80 minutes, Miami may seem like the appropriate length for a big screen version of a 30-minute television satire. Yet, the movie drags on seemingly forever and replays the same demonstrations of vulgarity over and over and over again. Each subsequent scene tries to outdo the shock-factor of the previous. At one point, half the squad is on display masturbating in their hotel rooms! This isn't funny; this isn't what makes Reno 911! amusing on television. It's very apparent that Miami's creators were so caught up in the fact that they could show all of the stuff that gets censored from the television show that they lost sight of the show's true character. Didn't the Police Academy folks already wear out this city, anyway? Yikes.
But, just because you can tweak the show's formula for the big screen, doesn't mean itís the right thing to do. What's most unfortunate is that Miami could have worked as a successful vehicle to reel in a larger audience for the significantly better cable show. As it stands, this failed big screen stunt just leaves more distaste long after the final credits roll.