If there is one law enforcement agency you don't want on your side during an emergency, it's the Reno Sheriff's Department.
Reno 911! is the first of several television shows taking a jump to the silver screen in 2007. Like the television series, the movie finds us watching the antics of a group of cops who are "some of the dumbest people I have ever met who weren't retarded," according to their commanding officer.
The film starts out like any other day in Reno, Nevada, where the local sheriff's department is attending to their normal day-to-day activities of sleeping on the job and shooting chickens. Lt. Jim Dangle his fellow officers that the department has been invited to a national law enforcement convention in Miami Beach and the gang quickly packs their bags for Florida. Unable to gain entry into the convention, the gang goes on a bender, only to return the next day to find the convention center and all 2,000 officers inside have been quarantined due to a bio-terrorist attack, thus leaving the Reno gang charged with protecting the entire city. And just who is watching Reno while its own force is watching Miami? Shhh... you're not supposed to ask that.
While the basic plot points of Reno 911! are outlined, the dialogue has always been largely improvised by its cast. While this format provides for a lot of laughs and a heightened sense of reality during a 22-minute television show, it doesn't work very well for the big screen, and this is where Reno 911!: Miami suffers. The flow is jagged with some parts of the movie feeling forced or rushed in order to advance to its next stage. Super Troopers it ain't, but don't get me wrong, there are some pretty good laughs in the film; unfortunately they happen to be surrounded by a bunch of filler. To the movie's credit, its improv style makes for an entertaining and unformulaic ending (well, almost ending) to one of the main characters.
Clocking in at 81 minutes, Reno 911!: Miami probably would have worked a lot better as a three or four part episode arc on Comedy Central rather than a feature length film. For fans eager to see some new episodes of the television series, though, this should hold them over until April 1st.
Expect Reno 911!: Miami not to have a major amount of crossover (and subsequently box office) success among non-viewers of the TV series, though it will probably do moderately well on DVD thanks to loyal fans.
Reno 911!: Miami hits theaters nationwide today, February 23rd, 2007
Fun facts: All the members of MTV's short-lived comedy show The State appear in this movie. Reno 911! is a spin-off of a sketch from The State. Robert Ben Garant, who plays Deputy Travis Junior, is the co-creator and head writer of Reno 911! This is my 100th Newsvine article, and it took me a little over a year to get here. Has it really been that long?