Reno 911!: Miami - A Funny Movie Shot in Miami Beach
If you were a fan of Reno 911! over the years, this past weekend’s release of the long awaited “Reno 911!: Miami” was an event worthy of a countdown usually reserved for movies with guys named “Skywalker.” And if you live in Miami, you find it to be your civic duty to go see whatever Hollywood blockbuster has gratuitously decided to be filmed here in order to be able to sit in the theater and go “Hey, that’s my building in the background!” Even if it’s not. This combination of funny show and familiar locale makes this film a must-see for any fan living in South Florida.
If you like the improvised, slapstick and utterly crude humor Reno 911! the TV show, you will be vastly entertained by this 81-minute episode that Paramount and Fox decided would make a good movie. Unlike a lot of short-subject TV comedies whose joke gets old after an hour(see: “Borat”, “Bewitched”, or any move made about a Saturday Night Live character) “Reno 911: Miami” manages to continue the cleverness of the original concept over a long-form production. That being said if you have never seen an episode of the show, or you have and are not a fan, you may very well write this off as another “dumb” comedy and your money will be better spent watching the re-release of “Notes on A Scandal”.
The film starts out like any episode of the TV show, with the bumbling cops led by obviously-but-never-actually-mentioned-as-gay Lt. Jim Dangle and his too-short shorts patrolling the streets of Reno, looking for hookers and meth addicts. Both of which are more prevalent in Reno than blackjack and slots. Quickly, the officers get an invitation to come to our fair city for the annual police officer’s convention and hop on a bus to South Florida. Perhaps the only true Miami moment in the film comes when they arrive at the convention. Somehow the gang from Reno is not in the system for the convention and the man at the desk is completely unhelpful and rude as mass confusion and frustration ensue. Wow, dead on. The only way it could have been more real is if the guy had spoken little if any English and/or been a belligerent homosexual.
The producers and writers of this film obviously figured out that the premise of the show, which is high on short gags on low on plot, needed to be what they expressed in the movie. And so it goes. There is some bio-terror outbreak in the Miami Beach Convention Center and the not-on-the-list Reno Sheriff’s Department are the only available cops in Miami Beach. So they then patrol the streets of Miami Beach doing what they usually do, which is completely inept law-enforcement. The movie captures every Miami cliché along the way, whether it is a redneck trying to wrestle a gator in a pool, a topless girl running on the beach, or excessive drinking in a city that Dangle refers to as having “Latin flavor up to its balls,” all of the things non-residents think about The Beach are painstakingly worked into the various improvised scenes of the film.
This movie would have been much more entertaining for Miami residents had the writers decided to have the lovably lax Reno deputies start acting like real Miami cops as soon as they put on their new Blue-and-White uniforms. This may have included a scene of Deputy Jones standing outside a club, collecting $38 an hour and hitting on drunk girls as he summarily ignored the fire code. Or perhaps bitter-lesbian Deputy Kimball and Deputy Garcia beating the living shit out of some tourist who decided to mouth off because he thought he was above the law while on vacation. Include a scene of Dangle and Junior arresting a pro athlete for urinating in public/drunk driving/causing a disturbance in a strip club/all 3 for a little Beach accuracy. Or, the most realistic of all, have Deputy Raineesha Williams volunteer to be a corrections officer at Dade County Jail, as anyone who has been there can testify every single one of them looks exactly like her. But I suppose this was supposed to be the Miami Beach Sherriff’s department, and not the City of Miami Beach Police, so they took some creative liberty.
At some point the officers encounter a guy doing a bad Tony Montana imitation who is involved in some intricate plot that somehow relates back to the bio—terror threat at the Convention Center. This character is perhaps the lowpoint of the movie as the whole “Scarface” thing is more played-out than pastel shirts in the 80’s and really makes the movie temporarily lose its comic credibility. What Reno 911! has always been good at is making jokes that were not at all cliché, but unfortunately the pseudo-Cuban drug lord is exactly that. Since he is used more as a plot device that a comic character, however, we are willing to overlook this as a necessary evil. Eventually, the bumbling cops who are shunned by the law-enforcement community topple the drug lord, foil the evil plan and save the day. Everybody is saved. The End.
Why have I not gone into more detail about the plot of this film? Because it is as frighteningly thin as a South Beach model with a coke habit and full of more holes than some of the finer houses in Liberty City, that’s why. But this is not a movie that needed one. It is essentially giving the Reno 911! fan with a voracious appetite for the show an all-you-can-eat buffet of their unique brand of comedy. With some cameos form The Rock, Danny DeVito and Paul Ruebens thrown in, this movie will definitely entertain you if you are a fan of its particular style. Just don’t expect to see anyone associated with this picture to be standing with Martin Scorsese next year. They’ve got a better chance of making it as real Police.
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