February 26, 2007

Reno 911!: Miami

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When Miami’s and, indeed, much of the nation’s police force, is put completely out of commission by an act of bio-terrorism, it will fall unto the Reno Sheriff’s department to save the day. Led by Lieutenant Jim Dangle, the motley collection of ne’er-do-well cops will do battle with gangsters, common thugs, alligators, drunks, drugs, the water, a whale, an assistant to the mayor, homeland security, a chicken and very nearly, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as they wildly search for a mysterious antidote.

The cops will employ diverse methods of transportation (bus, motorbike, golf cart, helicopter) to track the bad guys, and they will use equally diverse methods to dispatch them. A whale is dynamited, a fat man is devoured, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is exploded, one potential baddie is weed-whacked, at least one bottle of whiskey is completely annihilated and at the film’s climax, an arch-villain may or may not be accidentally missiled.

Serial watchers of the TV show will be pleased when the longstanding “question” of Lt. Dangle’s sexuality is resolved, they will be touched by the Lieutenant’s discussion of his mounting unhappiness in Reno, they will be dismayed when the lieutenant is very nearly transferred to the Aspen Police force and they will be relieved when he is almost immediately booted from his new position.

Further, Reno enthusiasts will not be surprised when, after a night of carousing, the Deputy Clementine, “Clemmy” Johnson, awakens to find herself tattooed with the likeness of a mysterious stranger demanding a day of rest and cranberry juice. Actually, the exact purpose of the cranberry juice was unclear to me until I had the joke explained to me by my date (she was unamused but exceptionally patient), though the gist of it was clear by way of context.

Serial readers of blogs and/or internet movie reviews will notice that the press blitz which has accompanied Reno 911!: Miami has been a déjà vu sort of experience. Has the media circus around the promotion of last year’s Borat faded so quickly from memory that Robert Garant and Thomas Lennon (the alter egos of Reno cops, Junior and Dangle) are able to parade around in character, hawking a collection of improvised, vulgar skits barely threaded together by a vague plot without being accused of intellectual infringement? Time will tell, and like Borat’s Sasha Cohen, Reno will probably be asked to defend itself from scads of considerably more dire declamations.

Like so many good films before, Reno 911 will upset the bourgeois movie-goers, feminists and probably most of the south. But really it wasn’t so bad. Indeed, it was damn funny. If you, too, can get the Cornell Daily Sun to pony up for a ticket, I say go see it. Otherwise — hell, go see it anyway. A matinee ticket is seven bucks at the Pyramid Mall, and this is exactly the price of admittance to The Vagina Monologues. Short skirts and vulgarity feature prominently in both pieces of theater, and Reno is not as likely to make you hurl. Four stars!