The New Academy

Reno 911!: Miami

Lennie Loftin, Niecy Nash, Robert Ben Garant, Wendi
McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqi, and Danny DeVito star in a film
written by Garant, Thomas Lennon, and Kerri Kenney and directed by
Garant.

Much like the Comedy Central program it is based on, Reno
911!: Miami
provides plenty of moments of inspired hilarity,
great improvisation, and a lot of jokes that fall flat. The film is
deliriously witty in short bursts, but it is also wildly
inconsistent — again, like the television series. But for a
low-rent, low-brow comedy that revives (perhaps unwisely) the
Police Academy formula, the film provides enough big
laughs during its 84 minute runtime to make a trip to the theater
worthwhile.

The ad-hoc plot, which revolves around a terrorist attack on a
nationwide police convention being held in Miami, is simply a
device to get the Reno 911! crew patrolling the streets of
Miami unsupervised. The meat of the film’s humor is in these short
sequences, including an outrageous encounter with a hillbilly whose
pool has an alligator in it. A sequence that examines the
predictably revolting sex lives of the troopers through an
ingenious hotel window filming technique is also a highlight.

The final third of the movie drags a bit, and gets bogged down
in too many big-budget set pieces and plot details. It is revived,
however, by a string of unlikely cameos from the likes of the
always brilliant Paul Rudd, and Michael Ian Black and Michael
Showalter from MTV’s cult classic mid-’90s sketch comedy show,
The State.

One does not have to be a fan of the TV show to have a good time
at Reno 911!: Miami, but it certainly helps. The film is
not a flawless, pitch-perfect comedy, but a ramshackle collection
of hit-or-miss sketches. A sequence that misses, however, is
quickly followed by a big hit or a moment that is transformed into
comedy gold by the sheer power of its strangeness — witness The
Rock jumping out of a SWAT van to deliver a quick pep talk to the
troopers before blowing himself up with a grenade. The tremendous
charm and talent of the comedians involved, however, help Reno rise
above the competition, particularly during the first quarter
drought of quality Hollywood releases.

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