Monday, July 30, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Over the weekend, the Reno 911!: Miami DVD was in the house. Amused by the genre (you know the kind: slapstick situational comedy with a host of social stereotypes played-out by an ensemble representing a institution we generally trust each day in real life, such as paramedics, security guards, or in this case, the police). So, being a childhood fan of such movies, and loving the work of much of the cast in the 90's sketch comedy troupe The State, (still one of the best TV shows in my lifetime, I do declare), I simply couldn't resist.

Well, maybe I should have. Sometimes the sum isn't greater than the parts. There were some laugh-out-loud funny elements of this movie (most revolved around sexual double entendres and situations that make the viewer cringe). But the most redeeming aspect of the film is that it plays up its own genre in a self-referential style that is at once reverent and self-deprecating. It doesn't take itself seriously, and well, as for the plot: plot be damned. Reno 911! is just silly... and a bit perverse. Teenagers will love this. But watch out for that "unrated" version - it's there are a couple scenes that might make a parent upset, even if our kids already know what's up.

2 out 5 stars (but that's about right for the genre)

You Might Like These Titles Too:

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988)
Maybe Reno is a send-up of this movie, but it never achieves the humor or character of this modern classic. There's some real comedy talent here - and I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's almost wholesome. Maybe Police Academy 4: Citizens of Patrol is more of a personal favorite, but at this point (since I'm not talking about Ingmar Bergman) it probably doesn't even matter.

Disorderlies (1987)
Remember the Fat Boys? Yeah, me too. Well, there was a movie in the 80's about a group of bumbling orderlies that played on the genre of the moment. I vaguely recall thinking it was funny at the time, and wonder if it holds up today as well as the Fat Boys' brand of hip hop.

Paramedics (1988)
Now this film was fast-paced, as I recall. The plot centers on a duo of cocky med-school kids who work South Central LA as parameds and stumble upon a fiendish conspiracy that deals in harvesting internal organs from unwilling donors. There's also a part of me that wondered if the PG-13 weren't a little light for some of the, er, adult content. The minor characters were the real draw.

and finally, one of my personal favorites...

Armed and Dangerous (1986)
John Candy and Eugene Levy are washed up cops and lawyers, respectively. They decide to change gears and become security guards... and zaniness ensues. Oh, how I loved the "Born to be Wild" traffic jam sequence as a kid... "Well, climb on in, Slim!"


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