With all the finger-pointing over that 24-hour traffic debacle on I-78 last week, I wonder if anyone has bothered to look into the whereabouts of the infamous Reno., Nev., sheriff’s department. Abandoning children and diabetics to suffer through an icy night on the highway sure sounds like the work of the world’s most incompetent law enforcement agency.
Of course, Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and company usually leave their victims laughing, not shivering to death.
If you’ve already seen Dangle’s, um, dangle on Comedy Central’s hit pseudo-docu-cop series, “Reno 911!,” you already know pretty much what his crew is up to in their first feature-length film. You’ve got car crashes, kinky sex, public drunkenness and accidental gunplay – and that’s all the work of the cops. The preposterously titled “Reno 911!: Miami” plays like three back-to-back episodes of the TV show.
Which is not a bad thing. The TV show is a raucous bit of satire with sight gags that work even in reruns. Plus, this is not the kind of movie where you want to waste any time on character development; you only need to know that, for these guys, “serve and protect” has been replaced by “my bad. “
And you certainly don’t want to see them holding a loaded gun. When Deputy Trudy Weigel (Kerri Kenney-Silver) takes aim, you know the bullet will always hit the wrong person for the biggest laugh. It’s no wonder Deputy Travis Junior (Robert Ben Garant) never goes anywhere – including his own bed – without a bulletproof vest.
As in the TV show, “Cops,” a camera crew follows the Reno sheriff’s office on its daily patrols. Dangle, outfitted in his trademark tight shorts (to provide him with the dexterity of a “law enforcement cheetah”), takes them all to Miami for a police convention, where a terror plot leaves them as the only cops on duty.
The deputies leap into action, wreaking havoc on alligators, coke dealers, local citizens and their own patrol cars. You might say it gets ugly – but only if your idea of ugly is the ample Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash) in an official police thong.
These guys couldn’t find South Beach with a GPS, much less crack a drug kingpin’s evil plans to take over the city. They are, as Dangle describes his deputies, “the dumbest group of people who aren’t legally retarded. “
You’d think the joke would wear thin after a while, especially in a post-9/11 world where you’re immediately suspect if you goof on law enforcement.
The truth is, though, cops are among the biggest fans of “Reno 911! ” When the cast visited the city last month to promote the movie, they were hosted by the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter. I’m guessing you need a pretty good sense of humor to be a cop these days.
Produced by Danny DeVito, Ben Garant, John Landgraf, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, directed by Ben Garant, written by Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver, music by Craig Wedren, distributed by 20th Century-Fox.