Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed, Linda Hunt, Richard Tyson, Cathy Moriarty
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $202,000,000
Plot: Unusual circumstances find big, brawny cop John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger), posing as a kindergarten teacher in order to apprehend a major drug lord, Cullen Crisp, as well as his ruthless accomplice and mother, Eleanor. While pretending to be a kid-friendly instructor, Kimble falls for pretty fellow teacher, Joyce Palmieri (Penelope Ann Miller), as he battles both unruly children and dangerous bad boys
'A Pretty Odd Premise For A Cop Comedy Film That Actually Works'
After 1988's Twins - which was a so-so comedy for me - big Arnie reunited with comedy director, Ivan Reitman for another slice of humourous farce, in the shape of Kindergarten Cop. As an undercover police officer, John Kimble is in hot pursuit of drug lord Cullen Crisp by posing as a teacher at a school. Whilst as a teacher, he discovers his love for teaching and starts to take a shine to a little boy named Dominic and his mother who also teaches at the same school.
Initially, the movie was awarded a 15 certificate in Britain when it was originally released in cinemas - which was strange and surprising as most of the stuff that takes place in the movie would have warranted a PG or PG-13 rating at most in today's movie age.
Despite the odd premise, Kindergarten Cop is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's fewest attempts at doing comedy, and thanks to an interesting narrative, it kind of works. The script can use a bit more fine tuning though. The humour is so-so, as well. Arnold plays his usual good cop action hero role as standard and as proven in Twins, he can easily assimilate into and adapt to comedy, just as well by having fun with the script.
The film begins in typical Arnie fashion when Kimble goes into all gung-ho, kick-ass cop mode by going after nemesis Cullen Crisp (some name that is) with gunshots and bullets flying everywhere. Crisp played by Richard Tyson was good and surprisingly creepy as the main baddie.
Although it is a cop film, much of what happens during and throughout the film occurs at the school where Kimble poses as a kindergarten teacher, as he adjusts to his surroundings and gets used to working with children.
The violence isn't over-the-top and graphic as others have made it out to be. Nevertheless, the musical score is pretty nice to hear.
Kindergarten Cop does have its faults, however: the grandmother is not a very convincing villain and some of the stuff the kids were saying and doing, wasn't as humorous and amusing as one expects it to be, for a comedy. But seeing Kimble's face as the kids run amok in the classroom, was priceless.
Image credit: Movie Stills DB
Also, for long periods, the main narrative where Kimble and O'Hara hunt down Crisp and his mother, gets lost within the film. It's a bit of a mish-mash with some good ideas, some not so good ideas - yet lacking in humourous moments. Film-wise, it is very predictable and plays it safe for the family-friendly audience. Also for an action-comedy, there is a distinct lack of action scenes, the balance just wasn't there, unfortunately. Although the film makes up for it by giving Arnie more dialogue to work with, and here his acting performance is one step- above from Twins and thus, I thought it was really good & he displays a lot more range, which was clearly something he had to work on.
Another thing to add is one of the bright sparks from this movie was Pamela Reed, who played Arnie's sidekick, Phoebe O' Hara: after her turn in American football flick, The Best of Times, Reed gave a much more fitting and amiable performance as the hungry cop, and when I mean hungry, I meant it in every literal sense of the word as the compulsive eating police officer and Kimble's right-hand partner-in-crime. Kindergarten Cop features an array of female actresses: Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed, Cathy Moriarty, Linda Hunt, all of whom all stepped up to the plate and delivered through their impressive performances.
The film eventually kicks into fifth gear during the last quarter towards the end after much of the 90 mins or so have been relatively quiet and not much was really going on. By then, it becomes much smoother and more drawn out & a little intense as events unfold with O'Hara and Kimble playing cat & mouse games with Cullen and his mother, & in trying to outwit the other.
There was one scene where a teenage couple were caught kissing by John: personally, I thought that didn't add much to the film or story. It was pointless. And speaking of romance, the romance subplot involving John and Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce, Dominic's mother and fellow kindergarten teacher could have been addressed a lot more effectively. But otherwise, it was, okay.
I get there are people who aren't fans of Ivan Reitman's humour - for me it is tolerable and one I can get and stand, depending on how much I enjoy a particular film of his. Both he and Schwarzenegger managed to pull this one off, with some success and is somewhat of a reminder of how good Reitman used to be as a comedic director. There were some memorable lines that still stick out today, which includes ''It's not a tumour!'' and ''You're not so tough without your car, are ya!''.
Kindergarten Cop is a predictable and safe action-comedy, with a script that could have been a whole lot better. Yet it still manages to entertain in places with some smile-worthy & light moments thrown in.
It may not be the best Arnie flick, ever. But comedy-wise per se, it's not too bad and I prefer this over Twins. But out of all the comedy-based films, he has done, Jingle All The Way still reigns top for me.
The kids, families and viewers who have a penchant for all things small, cute and adorable with get far more enjoyment out of Kindergarten Cop than the rest.
*rating last updated: November 22, 2016*