Occasionally brilliant and still often very funny even in its weaker moments, "Reno 911" has become a hit for Comedy Central as the parody of "COPS" has gotten better and better and audiences have gotten hooked on these wonderfully flawed characters. The series follows Reno officers Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash), Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney), Deputy James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Deputy S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), Deputy Travis Junior (Ben Garant), Deputy C. Johnson (Wendy McLendon-Covey) and Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Tom Lennon). The group barely manage to solve crimes (when they're not running away from the scene), remain largely indifferent about their failures and flaws and somehow, manage to be rather pathetic and yet, pretty endearing.
"Reno 911: Miami" takes the concept a bit further for the big screen, although the film still seems like an extended episode. The Reno officers, thrilled to be invited to the National Police Convention in Miami for once, arrive to find that they're not on the list. They wind up in a lousy hotel for the night, only to return to the convention center the next day to find that the convention center is the site of a bio-terror attack, leaving them the only police force in Miami, as the entire Miami PD is currently quarantined inside the center. The crew arrive in the sleek, modern Miami 911 center and congratulate themselves at the step-up, only to look at each other when the phone starts ringing.
Guided by an increasingly stressed deputy mayor (Patton Oswalt) and occasionally interrogated by a local gangster (Paul Rudd doing a bad "Scarface" impression), the Reno officers attempt to fight crime in Miami and get to the bottom of who's behind the attack at the convention center and save the day.
"Reno 911: Miami" is certainly slight at about 75 minutes + credits (it starts struggling right at the end to try and pass the 70 minute mark), but the movie does manage to get some great laughs and when it's not throwing out gags, it plays off the core humor of people faced with situations on a daily basis that they're wholly and completely unqualified for. The performances are just as funny and sharp as they are on the series, and the show's handheld camerawork gives the show a touch of realism that adds to the humor.
Overall, "Reno 911: Miami" isn't a classic and it's a little thin even for a sitcom brought to the big screen, but there's some good laughs to be found here and the ending suggests a potential overseas sequel.
This edition includes both the original theatrical cut and the much different "lost" version.
Usually, when a film is presented with an "unrated" or "director's cut", it's an instance of a few extra scenes being picked up from the cutting room floor - put it all together and slap an "extended cut" label on it. However, the "lost" version of "Reno 911" is clearly a rare example of an unrated cut being clearly very different (and when I say "different", I mean this is - with some scene exceptions and a more basic version of the same plot - essentially a whole new version of the movie) from the original theatrical release.
While I wouldn't call this new version of the film funnier than the theatrical version (given the fact that this is a essentially an entirely different version of the movie, some of the best scenes from the theatrical cut are missed), but there are still some hysterical scenes.
Where the theatrical cut was an enhanced episode with a few stars (Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt) and some bigger scenes, the "lost" version is quite a bit more basic and feels much more like an episode that happens to take place in Miami. There's even less of a plot here (and less of the Rudd and Oswalt characters) and much more in the way of the Reno cops riding around and encountering various local disturbances. What plot there is left in the movie is barely wrapped up during the last few minutes.
This version could not have been released theatrically - the ending is a rushed mess and as thin a plot as the theatrical release had, this is even less - essentially, in this version, a plot is introduced early on and then largely forgotten about until the last chunk of the film. Still, the remarkable fact remains that this is - with only a few exceptions - like watching a different movie.
VIDEO: "Reno 911: Miami" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered so-so image quality, with some mild artifacting in several scenes and a few moments of slight edge enhancement. However, this is still not the final copy and unfortunately, I cannot make any final comments on it, as the final copy will likely offer differing (and I'm hoping better) image quality.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is really a pretty basic "comedy" sound mix, with not much use of the surrounds. Still, the dialogue remains crisp and clear throughout the show, with no distortion or other issues.
EXTRAS: Commentary from Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Keri Kenney-Silver, deleted scenes, gag reel, PSAs and trailer. There is also a short intro for the "lost version". A second disc also offers a digital copy for those who have PSPs or other such portable players. The digital copy can also be transferred to your PC.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Reno 911: Miami" isn't a classic and it's a little thin even for a sitcom brought to the big screen, but there's some good laughs to be found here. The "lost" edition of the movie included in this edition wouldn't be theatre-worthy, but there are some laughs and fans will enjoy seeing what is - aside from a few scenes - a completely alternate version of the movie. Recommended.
The Film B