“Reno 911: the Hunt for QAnon” is a movie that should’ve (and could’ve) been so much better than it turned out to be. With the crackerjack comedy team behind the Central cult classic Reno 911!” (and for those OG fans from the early 90s, MTV’s “The State”) and an absolutely hilarious premise, I thought there would be no way this movie wouldn’t at least be enjoyable, if not great. I love these guys and their offbeat brand of humor, but this film is a total clunker that’s dead on arrival.
Led by Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), the incompetent team of cops (Kerri Kenney, Niecy Nash, Robert Ben Garant, Ian Roberts, Carlos Alazraqui, Cedric Yarbrough, Mary Birdsong, Wendi McLendon-Covey) from the Reno Sheriff’s Department have been given a new mission: infiltrate a QAnon convention and track down their leader, the mysterious person who goes by the name “Q.” It’s an assignment none of the deputies want to take on, until they find out the meeting takes place on a cruise ship. Seeking a free vacation, the entire department signs up to go deep undercover at sea.
The premise is one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long time. There’s so much natural comedy built into the set-up that you’d think this would be a slam-dunk for skilled comedians. While there are some very funny jokes (even if they are too obvious, like poking fun at the gun-toting, ‘Merica lovin’ QAnon supporters, and the expected jabs at the cruising industry), most of them are the lowest of the low brow. (I hate myself for it, but I’ll admit that I laughed heartily at the buffet and explosive diarrhea jokes).
These boorish and crude scenarios are on point if you know the screenwriting team (Garant, Kenney, and Lennon), but what’s missing are even the slightest hints of the more sophisticated humor that they are also known for.
The film starts off strong but quickly buckles under the weight of crass one-liners and jokes that fall flat. It gets even worse in the overblown, ridiculous finale, where the deputies find themselves in a fight to the death on Jeffrey Epstein’s old island. Yikes.
Talent can’t save everything, especially a squandered opportunity, and “Reno 911: the Hunt for QAnon” is a colossal letdown. The film is rough all around, which is a damn shame when you consider the premise should’ve been a match made in heaven for these brilliant comedy writers and performers.