For perhaps the majority of people the name ‘Reno 911’ will mean little, however it is a very funny US TV show spoofing the reality show Cops following the bungling Reno sheriffs department and its deranged and bewildered officers. That it spawned a feature length film is something of a mystery given that it works so well as a 30 minute TV show but it had a go and although not great it managed to avoid being a total disaster.
The plot of Reno 911!: Miami involves the Reno team being invited to Florida for an annual police convention. Upon arrival they find out that they are not on the guest list so are turned away and check in to a local dive motel. The next day, hungover from the excesses of the night before but determined to join the convention, they return to the centre to find it locked down by a biological attack which has trapped all of Miami’s law enforcement inside. Cue the future of the city falling into the hands of the odd squad and the inevitable hijinks that ensue as they try to keep order whilst finding out who is behind the attack.
Lead by their weary commanding officer lieutenant Jim Dangle (played by the truly excellent Thomas Lennon) the team kit up in their new Miami PD uniforms, partner up and head off answering 911 calls. Some elements of what make the TV show so good are able to shine initially as some Cops style scenarios occur but these are too few in number as the main plot involving the mastermind behind the attacks needs to take centre stage. Whilst this makes perfect sense of course it means that the main reason the TV show is so funny is not able to be recreated as the endless set pieces of cutting from 911 call to 911 call are lost.
Those not familiar with the cast run the risk of wondering why everyone is some sort of walking caricature and without knowing their stories it is very possible that some of them would be downright irritating. This is probably another reason that the show should never have been made into a feature length film as without this prior knowledge there is no reason to find a good amount of what some of the characters do and say particularly funny.
All of the actors who play the main characters are very accomplished individuals and indeed three of them write the TV show and one of them directs it so there is no lack of quality available. There are a good number of cameos which attempt to save the day ranging from scene stealing (The Rock) to subtle (Jo Lo Truglio) and with Paul Rudd as one of the main players it is surprising that there are times where laughs are few and far between.
Nothing should be taken away from the writers who routinely churned out hilarious content on the TV show for six seasons but the big screen is not where Reno’s finest were meant to be. Despite the film ending with a wide open option for a UK based sequel nothing appears to be forthcoming and that is perhaps for the best. This is not really an opportunity missed, it is more an idea that should never have made it off the ground and for those unfamiliar with the TV show it is perhaps not worth tracking down.