Kindergarten Cop

1990, Movie, PG-13, 111 mins

Review

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KINDERGARTEN COP is actually fairly entertaining, buoyed by Schwarzenegger's self-deprecating charm and easy chemistry with his capable costar, Pamela Reed, and the hammiest bunch of tykes ever assembled for a movie.

The film also features exceptional villains in Richard Tyson as Crisp, an Oedipal psychopath, and Carroll Baker as his cold-blooded mom, Eleanor. Long sought by L.A. cop Kimble (Schwarzenegger), the pair is hunting down Crisp's wife and son, who have fled to Oregon. Kimble teams with fellow cop Phoebe (Reed), a former schoolteacher, to find the woman and child and bring them back to L.A. to testify against Crisp and his mother. However, unlike the villains, Kimble and Phoebe have no idea what the wife and son look like.

Reitman remains one of Hollywood's most ham-handed directors. In addition to having no empathy for his female characters and totally bungling the romantic subplots, Reitman's misdirection around the fringes includes awarding Kimble's pet ferret more screen time than capable supporting players such as Cathy Moriarty and Linda Hunt. Yet KINDERGARTEN COP proves doggedly director-proof in the long run.

Schwarzenegger tames his kindergarten class by having them do calisthenics, thereby shamelessly using his role to promote his offscreen position as chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness--and therefore the political ambitions he constantly denies having. But his scenes with the kids can't help but amuse as they effectively send up Schwarzenegger's uber-hero image. Nonetheless, many viewers have been understandably put off by the film's uneasy mixture of goofy kid-oriented comedy and violent police action. leave a comment

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