‘Reno 911!: Miami’ shoots for laughs

Special to The Times

In “Reno 911!: Miami,” all you need to know about Reno’s finest (the dysfunctional sheriff’s department from the cult Comedy Central TV show) is summed up early on when a call comes in for an “814"--"armed person on the roof.” Or, as it turns out, a chicken on the road, which leads Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and company to nearly maim one another as they attempt to apprehend said poultry.

From there, series regulars and co-writers Lennon, Robert Ben Garant (who also directs) and Kerri Kenney-Silver transplant their dumbed-down takeoff on “Cops” to South Beach for the American Police Convention. Then, after an infectious contamination places the entire Miami police force under quarantine, the ragtag Reno gang is left as “the only thing standing between chaos and order.”

Of course, chaos ensues, and the overwhelmed and under-witted officers find themselves up against the likes of a pseudo drug lord (Paul Rudd), a sperm whale corpse rotting on a topless beach and even Terry the gay prostitute (Nick Swardson), a show regular whose lispy verbiage is fraught with insults and sexual innuendo.

Often mildly amusing but rarely laugh-out-loud funny, the film works best in scenes with a distinct Miami flavor. Hot pants-clad Lennon with his Reno drawl and fair skin stand out in more ways than one when he and Garant (Deputy Travis Junior) answer a noise complaint call at the residence of one Suge Knight. And in by far the film’s best scene, Cedric Yarbrough (Deputy S. Jones) and Carlos Alazraqui (Deputy James Garcia) stand by terrified and dumbfounded as a beer-guzzling and -bellied local yokel (Chris Tallman) leaps into a turbid swimming pool with an alligator.


Other funny bits include a fast cameo by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a butterfingered, grenade-toting super cop, and in a more complex scene at a seedy motel, the camera follows the inebriated and amorous officers as they move from room to room, interrupting their colleagues in various states of arousal.

While the film offers a definite step up in production values from its TV counterpart, big screen-worthy scenes are few and far between. And aside from uncensored profanity and unpixelated nudity, the “Reno 911!: Miami” never really stretches its legs, and instead often feels more like a stretched-out half-hour episode.

“Reno 911!: Miami.” MPAA rating: R for sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language and drug use. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes. In general release.