Reno 911! is a joke, just not funny

by Beacon Staff • February 21, 2007

"I gotta say man, Boston is colder than a witch's nipple ring," he said. "See, in Reno, we got a lot of brothels to keep us warm.,Deputy Jones (actor Cedric Yarbrough), sitting comfortably in the Ritz Carlton conference room in full uniform, commented on Boston's recent surge of cold weather.

"I gotta say man, Boston is colder than a witch's nipple ring," he said. "See, in Reno, we got a lot of brothels to keep us warm."

He is referring, of course, to his small desert town in Nevada, where the faux-reality show "Reno 911!" is filmed.

Jones, one of the half-dozen police officers of the Reno squad, has left the sweltering heat of Nevada to promote his new feature film, Reno 911!: Miami.

He's been enjoying his time in Massachusetts, though.

"Last night after the screening, I got hammered with some Emerson students. I am definitely still drunk right now," he said.

He pointed to his bottle of water. "This isn't water, by the way," he said.

Jones steers clear of talking about his upcoming feature-length film, claiming that much of it was directed by George Lucas, who incorporated, in Jones's words, "a lot of CGI effects."

He did, however, express his general views about the new film as a whole: "I think it's crap. It's terrible. It was fed to us like a cereal of crap."

Deputy Jones' frank opinion isn't far from the truth. There is no question that Reno 911!: Miami is a profoundly stupid picture. Unlike the hilarious television show on which it's based, Miami manages to be both relentless and lazy in its 80-minute quest for laughs.

With bizarre, star-studded cameos littered throughout, including appearances from Danny DeVito and The Rock, Reno hardly leaves room for any improvisation within its police force cast. Having it set in Miami at a police convention doesn't help matters much, either.

The cast is clearly not in familiar territory and therefore not nearly as comfortable and willing to take comedic risks.

Instead, moviegoers are led on a ludicrous, plot-oriented crime comedy that leaps back and forth between Scarface jokes and masturbation gags. The overall effect leaves one bored stiff and staring intently at the theatre's exit sign.

"They gave me a release to sign, but I don't like to read, so I just didn't read it," Jones says about his involvement in the movie while shaking his head.

That might explain why the Reno squad looks so helpless and subdued for the entirety of the film. Even the quick-witted banter of the usually hysterical Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) feels flat and humorless.

Deputy Jones shifted uncomfortably when asked if there were any problems with the Reno squad on set. He first denied it.

"I don't feel comfortable answering that," he said. "It is not appropriate for this discussion." But after a little coaxing, he admits that one of his fellow officers rubbed him the wrong way.

"Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney)," he says. "I hate her. She is not a good-looking woman. She's really a terrible human being. I really don't think she's

clean."

Clearly, such evident animosity within the force led to the tiresome antics on screen. Even Jones, so fired-up and outrageous during his interview with The Beacon, appeared unengaged and slightly on-edge throughout the film.

Hopefully, the Reno squad has learned its lesson and will decide to shoot in their hometown the next time a major motion picture comes along.

In the meantime, Jones appears to be having a great time getting interviewed. When asked who his modern-day heroes are, he doesn't hesitate to respond: "Booker T. Washington ... and that black woman who freed the slaves, what was her name? Oh, Harriet Tubman. And ..." He thinks hard, frowning. "Anne Frank. But attics scare me so ... I don't know. I think there's actually a ghost in my attic. I really don't want to go home actually."

Home in Nevada, however, is where Deputy Jones belongs.