Film/DVD

Miami Nice

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Lt. Dangle dangles his hot pants over South Beach in Reno 911: Miami–The Movie. Plus DVD movie classics.

Delightfully, this Comedy Central comedy series translates well to the big screen. Granted, the beginning is a little slow, but don’t shut off the DVD player. The laughs kick in soon enough and continue till past the closing credits.

The gang receives an invitation to a convention of police forces from around the country. By the time our guys arrive, there’s no record of Reno being on the list. Though the department has to bunk in a dive, the bad news transmogrifies into a call-to-action when all the other departments staying at the same, nicer, place are quarantined under terrorist biohazard alert. Under Lt. Dangle’s (Thomas Lennon) command, the bumbling officers take control of Miami. But will South Beach be safe or under greater risk at their fumbling hands?

Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash) takes beach patrol, strutting her massive booty in a Miami Police Department one-piece thong swimsuit. Deputy Junior (Ben Garant) crashes into the whale while the gang tries to push it back into the ocean (“Get a wet-nap, people,” yells Dangle. “We have an officer down!”). And Deputy Kimball (Mary Birdsong) denies being a lesbian despite a series of very telling clues.

Renosfinest
Three of Reno’s finest—(l–r) Kerry Kenney-Silver, Ben Garant, and Thomas Lennon—make mincemeat of Miami.

Deputy Wiegel (Kerry Kenney-Silver) nags a drunken Dangle into pity sex. Dangle explains, “Trudy, you know I play for ‘Visitor.’” Soon, we find him struggling with the band of his wristwatch, which is stuck in Wiegel’s pubes. In another scene, all is quiet at the 911 phone center, so Dangle orders everyone to get some rest. Flash forward to see a practically naked Dangle getting his jig on, surrounded by topless buff go-go boys, at a dance club. • 2007. Directed by Ben Garant, co-written by Garant, Lennon, and Kenney-Silver. • From Fox Home Entertainment (www.foxhome.com). — Review: Eric A.T. Dieckman
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MOVIE CLASSICS ON DVD

Among new DVD releases you’ll find the Comedy Queen, the Aqua Queen, and at least one Outer Space Queen. Did I just describe your favorite bar?

LucilleCollection… Believe it or not, Lucille Ball actually had a fairly substantial movie career before, during, and after the success of I Love Lucy , and the new Lucille Ball Film Collection provides an opportunity to see what she could do when Desi Arnaz wasn’t screeching “Babaloo” at her.

The two oldest titles here are the must-sees. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) was directed by Dorothy Arzner, one of the few female directors of the studio era (and, incidentally, a lesbian). Lucy plays a vulgar burlesque queen named Tiger Lily White. And in The Big Street (1942) our girl plays a truly heartless bitch who’s worshiped by poor Henry Fonda. The set also includes Du Barry Was a Lady (both 1943), plus Critic’s Choice (1963) and Mame (1974).

I was going to be nice and not mention Mame , but how can you ignore one of the biggest misfires in film history? Let’s set the record straight, shall we? Rosalind Russell was Mame. Angela Lansbury was Mame. And Clint Eastwood was probably Mame after a few drinks. But Lucy just wasn’t Mame! …

EWilliamsIf you’re interested, Lucy also turns up in 1946’s Easy to Wed , one of the lesser gems contained in the new TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams , a collection honoring the queen of MGM’s “Aqua Musicals.”

You also get Bathing Beauty (1944), On an Island With You (1948), Neptune’s Daughter (1949), and Dangerous When Wet (1953). Esther swims with cartoon icons Tom and Jerry in that last one. …

The word “camp” may not mean as much as it used to (unless you’re sleeping in tents with bears), but if “campy fun” is still your cup of tea, then definitely look out for Cult Camp Classics, Volumes 1-4 . Grouped together as “Sci-Fi Thrillers,” “Women in Peril,” “Terrorized Travelers,” and “Historical Epics,” some of the films here are legendary laugh orgies, especially 1955’s Land of the Pharaohs , where Joan Collins more or less does Alexis Carrington in ancient Egypt.

Also try to keep a straight face during the same year’s The Prodigal , with Lana Turner vamping it up as an evil love goddess. Other titles include the essential masterpieces Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman and Queen of Outer Space , both from 1958, the latter starring Zsa Zsa Gabor (but not in the title role, alas).

Note: the “Women in Peril” set includes 1950’s Caged , a relatively sober women-in-prison story with lesbian content that was fairly explicit for the era. • Now available from Warner Home Video (www.warnervideo.com). The Esther Williams collection available July 17. — Reviews: Jack Varsi

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