Schwarzenegger Goes Back to School
"Kindergarten Cop" is really quite a strange movie and one which people think of as a kid's movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger doing comedy; well it did get a PG certificate. And I can see why because part of the movie is watching Arnie's character going undercover as a Kindergarten teacher and struggling to maintain order in a classroom of kids which is quite funny. But then there is the more grown upside to the movie as we have Arnie as the tough cop hunting down a criminal, there is violence, there is drugs, there is also killing and whilst the element of sex is there as a joke it is still there. It means that "Kindergarten Cop" basically becomes a movie which seems to go from being for grown up teens to young children, yet it works because for all its flaws it is funny.
Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger - Total Recall) is tough as nails and is relentless in his pursuit of drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson) who he has been after for years. When he gets a lead on where Cullen's ex wife and son now live Kimble along with Detective O'Hara (Pamela Reed) head to Astoria in the hope of finding her and persuading her to testify against Cullen. The only trouble is they don't know exactly who she is and Kimble finds himself having to masquerade as a Kindergarten teacher in order to try and discover which child in the class is Cullen's.
"Kindergarten Cop" may have the central storyline of Detective John Kimble trying to put Cullen Crisp inside for various crimes it really isn't the point of the movie. In fact the whole Cullen crisp element of the movie really just bookends the movie providing the intro and an action packed ending, which is part of the reason why the movie seems strange. Here we have an opening which has some violence, there is also mention of drugs and come the end we have a shoot out which is vastly different to what happens in between.
Now what happens in between is really what "Kindergarten Cop" is all about and that is the humour of having this giant, tough cop masquerading as a Kindergarten teacher and finding it tougher than keeping law and order. We have the humour of the kids scared of the giant Kimble, we have the humour of Kimble shouting and causing tears, we also have the humour of single mums taking a fancy to him. It is all rather obvious but it is also good fun and whilst it is obvious that not only will Kimble end up loving the children and they love him but that sense of love comes across. Maybe I am wrong but you get a sense that whilst making the movie Arnie spent time with each of the young children and they enjoyed being around him.
There is another predictable side to "Kindergarten Cop" which is Kimble falling for Joyce, another teacher who also happens to be the woman that he is trying to find. I say predictable because lets see, Kimble is masquerading as a cop so when he tells Joyce who he really is it causes a bit of a problem. But then we do have the humour of his partner Detective Phoebe O'Hara pretending to be Kimble's Austrian sister which is fun.
What this means is we also have a variety of performances with Penelope Ann Miller giving us sweet as Joyce, Pamela Reed and Linda Hunt both giving us laughs whilst Richard Tyson and Carroll Baker give us nasty as Crisp and his mother. But "Kindergarten Cop" is all about Arnie and the humour of him being so big in a class of little children. Now we get the Arnie grimaces, the Arnie smile and a touch of the Arnie romance, all of which you can see in "Twins" from a few years earlier. But again you sort of get a sense that Arnie enjoyed working with children and that sense of fun comes across.
What this all boils down to is that in a way "Kindergarten Cop" shouldn't work as we have drama and action book ending a lot of simple humour. But there is such a sense of fun to the middle section that you just enjoy all the simple and predictable humour.