Fox has reaped nifty little paydays from risque comedies, but the minimal effort expended on this barely-feature-length version of Comedy Central's "Reno 911!" exposes the exercise for what it is -- namely, an opening-weekend pit stop en route to the inevitable unrated DVD release, which will likely do reasonably well.

Fox has reaped nifty little paydays from risque comedies, but the minimal effort expended on this barely-feature-length version of Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!” exposes the exercise for what it is — namely, an opening-weekend pit stop en route to the inevitable unrated DVD release, which will likely do reasonably well. Running a mere 80 minutes and somehow still feeling heavily padded, this “Cops” spoof yields a few amusing (if widely spaced) moments but otherwise simply revels in the gratuitous nudity, language and below-the-belt gags that an “R” rating provides.

With the series in its fifth season — chronicling in deadpan, mock cinema verite-style the crime-fighting efforts of Reno’s police force — the producers obviously felt the movie needed a splashier stage, even if the biggest little city in the world is amusingly described near the outset as “like Mayberry, except everyone’s on crystal meth and prostitution’s legal.”

So writer-stars Robert Ben Garant (who also directed), Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver came up with the flimsy excuse of shipping Reno’s eight sheriffs to a police convention in Miami, only to have a crisis leave them the only cops available to patrol the streets.

Following a setup that showcases the group partying in Florida — which includes not only a mass-masturbation scene, but a depth charge consisting of tequila and Pepto-Bismol — the movie then devolves into an extra-long episode of the TV program. Capitalizing on the venue, the cops encounter an alligator in a swimming pool (funny), trouble at a topless beach (obvious) and a weed whacker-wielding mobster (Paul Rudd, in one of many celebrities making cameos, among them producer Danny DeVito) that parodies the Al Pacino version of “Scarface.”

That virtually all the jokes prove sophomoric is to be expected, whether they dwell on the sexuality of Lt. Jim Dangle (Lennon), he of the skin-tight shorts; the ample bosom of Deputy Clementine (Wendi McLendon-Covey), sporting a mysterious tattoo; or Deputy Trudy (Kenney-Silver), pining for Dangle and seeking to learn how to be hip from Deputy Raineesha (Niecy Nash), who patrols the local beaches in a thong.

Like any improvised comedy, though, there’s a rarely-hit-and-mostly-miss element to the goings-on. It’s telling that the obligatory closing-credit sequence displaying additional footage (not outtakes) isn’t any better, suggesting there was hardly a glut of laugh-out-loud gems left on the cutting-room floor.

All of which goes to demonstrate that while it’s easy enough to slap a colon on a lowbrow cable TV show, additional punctuation by itself isn’t sufficient to actually transform it into a movie.

Reno 911!: Miami

Production

A 20th Century Fox (in U.S.) and Paramount Pictures (international) release presented in association with Comedy Central of a High Sierra Carpeting/Jersey Films/Double Feature Films production. Produced by Danny DeVito, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg, John Landgraf. Executive producers, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Peter Principato, Paul Young. Co-producer, Penny Adams. Directed by Robert Ben Garant. Screenplay, Garant, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver.

Crew

Camera (Deluxe color), Joe Kessler; editor, John Refoua; music, Craig Wedren; set decorator, Robinson Royce; costume designer, Maryann Bozek; sound (Dolby/DTS), Dennis Salcedo; supervising sound editors, Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Chuck Michael; assistant director, Xochi Blymyer; casting, Julie Ashton-Barson. Reviewed at 20th Century Fox studios, Los Angeles, Feb. 21, 2007. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Deputy James Garcia - Carlos Alazraqui Deputy Cherisha Kimball - Mary Birdsong Deputy Travis Junior - Robert Ben Garant Deputy Trudy Wiegel - Kerri Kenney-Silver Lieutenant Jim Dangle - Thomas Lennon Deputy Clementine Johnson - Wendi McLendon-Covey Deputy Raineesha Williams - Niecy Nash Deputy S. Jones - Cedric Yarbrough

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