So I'm watching KINDERGARTEN COP in a bit of a stupor because the remote control is too far for me to reach when I suddenly realize something amazing: This movie is fantastic.
In the calculus of Hollywood dreck, KINDERGARTEN COP doesn't add up. Take 1 muscle-bound action hero, a dozen too-cute kids and a plot so contrived it makes an episode of any television sit-com look downright plausible and you should have a mess fit only for release straight to video in Third World nations--do not pass "Go" (or your local metroplex) or collect $200. In fact, I would love to meet both the person who pitched this idea and the studio head who gave it the green light:
Pitchman: "Imagine MARY POPPINS without the namby-pamby animation and music and twice the butt-kicking! Oh, and instead of Dick Van Dyke faking a British accent we'll have Arnold Schwarzenegger faking intelligible dialog!" Studio Exec: "I love it! Here's umpteen million dollars to get it made!"
And the freakin' movie works! It really does. The script is filled with some great lines (My favorite, of course: "It's not a tumor!"), sweet characters and some low-key acting from the principles that keeps the story from becoming maudlin. This is one of maybe three movies I can think of that I would be comfortable watching with my parents, minor relatives or beer-drinking buddies. (Coincidentally, another one of the three is GHOSTBUSTERS, also an Ivan Reitman flick.) It has bloodless action, quotable lines and an ending that is satisfying. It just shouldn't exist. Maybe the fact that it does exist proves the William Goldman line about Hollywood: "Nobody knows nothing."
Take some advice from your Uncle Guy: If you're stuck with the kids or a date you don't know and you need to sit at home and watch a movie, put in KINDERGARTEN COP. You won't be disappointed, and you just might like it. And this advice comes from a big curmudgeon.