Reno 911: Miami (2007), or I’ve Had Better…

1 09 2009

Reno 911!: Miami is the film spin-off of the once-humorous show Reno 911!, a Comedy Central program about Renaissance drama and intrigue in the court of Elizabeth I. it was once a pretty funny Waiting for Guffman-esque take on the show Cops, with all the officers being unreasonably eccentric and quirky. The premise was solid, and carried a good two seasons, but it quickly wore thin with the addition of newer characters and staler jokes. Somewhere along the line it gained modest popularity, and by season 4 the show was given a film off-shoot where the wacky cops went to Miami, despite having not been funny for about a year and a half already. What results is a film that not only defiles the sacred name of retroscripted comedy, but also makes me very angry. Why? Because Comedy Central has the nerve to shitcan its other better shows (i.e. Drawn Together) while a much lamer show like Reno 911! can get its own shitty movie!

Well, the Reno 911! crew has been shipped off to Miami for the setup to this movie! Seriously, that’s the premise. Miami is completely out of cops after a biological attack on the Miami Police Officers Convention leaves all available law enforcement stuck in the Convention building pending a thorough inspection of everyone inside. The Reno cops, obvious losers as they are, were not let into the convention, so it turns out that they are the only people who can protect and serve the city in the meantime. So it basically turns into a 90 minute episode of the show, with the goofy cops doing everything they normally do except it’s in Miami now. Can the cops save the day from the biological terrorists who attacked the convention? Can they even stop the normal day-to-day criminals?

Filled with a surprising number of high-profile cameos, including actual funny person Patton Oswalt (!), actual funny actor Paul Rudd (!!), and actual former pro-wrestler Dwayne Johnson (!!!), this movie uses its measly $10 million budget wisely. It looks like it’s worth WAY more than that, and I have to admit the production value was very high. Directed by cast member Robert ben Garant, Reno 911!: Miami is a sparkling, shining tube of excrement; no matter how much baubles you put on it, it still isn’t a very funny movie.

The problem is that the jokes are weak. And that turns out to be the strangest part of this, because the film is surrounded by talent on all sides. Created by former members of The State, one of the best and most under-rated sketch comedy troupes of the past decade, the comedy stylings of Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney-Silver are certainly potent enough in a less constricting environment to make even the most joyless man alive indulge in a chuckle. But faced with an entrenched concept, built-upon characters, and a fixed amount of potential growth for the show, it must have limited the prowess of these three otherwise hilarious individuals.

If you don’t believe me when I tell you the jokes are weak, let me give you some examples:

Exhibit A-

Ehh… not the funniest.

Exhibit B-

Um… Better, definitely better. Let’s try one more…

Exhibit C-

Oh, jeez… Nick Swardson and his lame prostitute character Terry followed them to Miami… Yikes…

This was obvious, unoriginal comedy that could’ve been conceived by your friendly neighborhood high school drama kid and your local neighborhood high school bodily humor joke kid having a conversation with each other. It doesn’t have the smack of the talented people writing it, and that is as puzzling as it is frustrating.

In short, I didn’t like Reno 911!: Miami. In long, I didn’t like Reno 911!: Miami and don’t think the concept merited its own movie, CERTAINLY not above a few choice Comedy Central shows. It was unnecessary, bland, and trite. It had its moments that got me laughing (the whale explosion scene wasn’t half bad) and the acting was pretty good, but you can’t substitute good comics for shitty jokes. It just doesn’t work like that, at least not well. And now that it’s recently been assured that Reno 911! will not be renewed for another season, I am pleased to give Reno 911!: Miami a whopping 4 Dwayne “The Cameo” Johnsons out of 10. Long live Drawn Together and Freak Show!

Tomorrow I take a walk on the dangerous side and tackle Xanadu! Until then!