Not at first.
Like most of Arnold’s films, we start out with a pretty nice action set. He is searching for a bad man. We’ve seen enough of his films to know that the people he’s about to interact with are in for a southern ass whoopen. Much like the “Terminator” movies, he struts through a room of villains–very nonchalant–pulls out a shotgun and starts firing. The difference here, he’s not seen killing anyone…huh?
He shoots up some of the room and scenery and scares a lot of shady people off and no one dies.
Again, unexpected. He gets ahold of one of the shady characters and interrogates him there. He is looking for a very bad man. There was nothing worse than a villain on film in the late 80s and early 90s in America that was a drug dealer–unless there was a film with Nazis in it.
The snitch gives up some information that helps Detective John Kimble (Arnold) track a lead down to help him find Cullen Crisp.
Kimble gets assigned a new partner, Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed in a very brief and underrated comedic performance). Of course Kimble is opposed to the assignment until he learns that the undercover op is as a kindergarten teacher.
Yes, “Kindergarten Cop.” A very quoted movie and a great family comedy.
Phoebe is to be the Kindergarten teacher for a classroom of kids that may be the son of Crisp. The detectives believe that Crisps’ ex love interest has changed her name, fled to a small town, become a teacher, and has a son in kindergarten.
After a fit of sudden illness, Kimble has to step in for Phoebe and fill in as the new Kindergarten teacher.
What could possibly go wrong?
Not the best first day, to say the least. A lot of chaos, yelling, and crying.
The appeal to the movie is definitely not the plot–very simple and predictable–the appeal comes completely from Arnold and his persona. I feel that it was a VERY brave decision for him to take this project on…the only other person I would probably want to see do this would be Clint Eastwood circa 1985-1989 after “Sudden Impact” but before “Dead Pool.” Those huge “manly-men” personas give this delicate comedy that human touch that it needs as a tough guy is forced to become compassionate, organized, and vulnerable.
This “bull in a China shop” has to deal with a lot of interesting personalities that are his students. Another allure is that the kids are not just backdrop and scenery. The writers were very skilled at giving us a lot of dynamic child characters with very little lines and screen time. Quite a feat.
There is eventually some drama, a bit of a romance with Crisps’ ex, and a decent suspense sequence at the films climax as Crisp and his bat-shit mother step into the frame; but the draw to this movie is the comedic sequences that Arnold is put through as a large man that has to learn how to be delicate with fresh young minds. Not to mention some comedic moments from Linda Hunt as his principal Miss Schlowski. I don’t think it was an accident that the director chose to surround our giant with small children and a very small statured boss too.
He has to be bigger than life..so that when he does have to come down out of the clouds and relate to people, it’s both challenging and charming.