Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed

Year: 1990

The year was 1990, and we liked our movies to be family friendly but at the same time extremely inappropriate.  We wanted Arnold to be in everything, we wanted every film to have its own memorable theme music, to have sex, violence, bathroom humor, and sight gags; basically we were tired of genres, we wanted it all, man.  Movies like Kindergarten Cop were the staple of this time period, parents and kids watching together and experiencing very uncomfortable moments when people had sex in one scene and there was some Sesame Street-style inspiration in the next.  It was a weird time, I can tell you, growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, but at least we had Kindergarten Cop, and at least it’s still pretty freakin’ awesome.

Detective John Kimble is on the trail of the known drug smuggler Cullen Crisp, and has been for years; the guy is just too slippery to pin down.  But when he murders a lowlife in cold blood (and in front of the lowlife’s girlfriend), it looks like John will finally have the eye witness to take Crisp down.  But there’s a catch; the witness ends up dead, and Crisp found out from her boyfriend where his ex wife, estranged son, and 3 million stolen dollars are hiding, and he aims to take all three as his own.  Kimble will have to go undercover in the peaceful town of Astoria, Oregon to protect the mother & child, but in a role a tough guy like him is nowhere near prepared for: kindergarten teacher.

This is one of the borderline movies from the 90s that’s kinda for kids, kinda for adults, kinda sexist, kinda homophobic, kinda fun, kinda awesome, but definitely an example of the type of film we enjoyed at the time, with a lot less thought than we would give it today.  Because, we see things differently now, that’s for sure, we grew up and learned better; but that does that make Kindergarten Cop bad?  I say no, but watching it now requires a little patience and an understanding of that time vs this time.  There are jokes that don’t land, jokes that offend, and parts that simply don’t work, but there are also so many elements to enjoy and to remember fondly; it’s an odd balance that each person is going to have to figure out for themselves.  I can only say that I had a blast.  Arnold has never been better, the supporting cast was great, the kids were so fun, the music was perfect, the story moved swiftly; I had a great time revisiting this classic.  Again, it’s got problems, but watching these time capsules back is always iffy, because you never know what you’re going to get.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆