The Reno 911! television show remains one of my favorite original productions to come out of Comedy Central and when I heard a movie was in the works, I was moderately excited. I say “moderately” because I worried the movie, which is shot Cops style, would look odd in widescreen and, let’s face it, with higher production values.
To an extent my worry was not unsubstantiated—the film does look odd in widescreen and with cleaner video. While waiting for the Unrated version to arrive, I scoped out the “R” rated theatrical cut and ended up watching the film with directors/writers commentary in full screen and I quickly realized the movie felt more at home this way. This is purely because I’m used to watching the series in fullscreen and the widescreen presentation is a bit off putting. Still, minor aesthetics aside, the aspect ratio of the film isn’t going to hurt the enjoyment as much as poor writing.
You’d think that’d be my segue into stating that this movie was poorly written, but it’s not. No, the film retains the same level of quality as the show (and why shouldn’t it? It’s written by the creators), although there aren’t quite as many hilarious moments in the film as one would hope. The masturbation hotel sequence stands out as one of the funniest bits in the film (although Kimball is oddly absent from the mayhem), but there isn’t much else that you’ll remember from the film aside from the end credits roll (which actually makes up the majority of what we see in the trailers for the film). That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but I don’t remember much from Super Troopers either and that film is still hilarious.
As the story goes, the Reno Sherrif’s Department is called to a Cop convention in Miami, Florida. When they arrive they find that they are not in the computer and they are unable to receive their convention passes, which sends a jolt of disappointment throughout the crew. The majority end up getting drunk and pass out, meanwhile the convention goes on and a bio-terrorist threat is unleashed, forcing all of the law enforcement in Miami to be non-existent, aside from the Reno Sherriff’s Department. Reno sets out to protect the city of Miami and along the way meet up with old friends and eventually unravel the mystery of the bio-terrorist threat (it doesn’t make much sense, so don’t worry if you don’t understand it all in the end).
Having seen both versions of the film, I can safely say that there isn’t a difference between the two aside from some more breast shots (which one can assume from the topless brunette on the unrated cover [there are no topless brunettes in the movie, making the on-the-cover shot all the more curious]) and extra dialogue here and there. In fact, the run time between the two is a mere two minutes difference, so you can imagine that there isn’t anything you’re missing by not getting the unrated version, although I recommend it over the theatrical just for the better special features.
There’s nothing that will win an award in this movie and it is quite possibly a waste of time if you don’t enjoy the type of humor the Reno 911! brand so brilliantly debuted on Comedy Central years back. Despite this, the film is just fun to watch and having watched it five times now (once by itself and four times with the various commentaries over the two releases), I can say that it doesn’t get dull on repeat viewings. The only thing I noticed was the extreme lack of Deputy Kimball, who is barely seen in the film. Jones and Garcia barely show up either, although their story with Ethan the Druglord (Paul Rudd) is integral to the plot (what there is of it).
Overall Reno 911!: Miami is worth owning if you’re a fan of the show, but those unsure will want to give it a rental first. Knowing the show prior to viewing is a definite plus before watching the film, but isn’t required.
Back during its original release, Reno 911!: Miami saw two individual releases. One was the theatrical R cut, while an unrated cut was released alongside it. The differences were minimal, with only a bit of skin being all that separated the two (as well as a few other pieces of dialogue, but for the most part it remained unchanged). For this new release I expected pretty much the same thing, although I was surprised to see a completely different cut of the film presented on the set in addition to the original “unrated” cut. That’s right—although you can’t really tell from the packaging, there is literally a third cut of the film on this set and it’s nothing like the other two.
While the original unrated cut is included here (as well as with one of the commentaries [the “straight” one with the director/writers), “The Lost Version” is what fans will want to pick this one up for. In essence it may as well be a whole other film that takes place in Miami, as while there’s still the loose plot of the Police convention, so much of the surrounding footage has changed that it’s about as similar to the first film as that Wake Up Ron Burgundy! “movie” was to Anchorman. In other words, it’s a bit random but it’s also still hilarious.
The new cut (1:09:37) comes with its own intro (2:43) by Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver all in-character (and in-uniform). There’s no straight reason given for this new cut of the film and I’m not entirely sure if the there’s a real reason for it other than it was because they could. I have to hand it to Fox though—rather than just stuff this out in some ugly Digital Copy packaging (which they did do anyway), they really shoved some new content on this release in the process. Kudos. Also new to this release is a Blooper Reel (5:12), as well as a mix of Deleted Scenes (four) and Public Service Announcements (three). A theatrical trailer is included as well.
It’s a rather surprising set and while the video and audio transfers appear to be identical to the ones from the previous releases (same goes for the audio transfers), the packaging is wildly different. I assume Fox’s new strategy with this “Digital Copy” line is to show off how compact movies can be, since the two discs included here are tossed inside a single thin-pak case with a cardboard slipcover. Not the most enjoyable packaging, especially considering my review copy arrived crushed with splintered plastic all over the inside of the case.
In all this is a hard release to recommended, especially if you already own the previous editions. It really is essentially a whole other movie and considering it runs almost as long as the original cut of the film, it’s not too hard to swallow the $15 that this new release costs if you’re a fan of the show. It’s more of the same, but with Reno 911!, that is never a bad thing. Recommended.
Reno 911!: Miami [More Busted Than Ever! Unrated Cut!] is now available on DVD.