A former flame of mine adored this film. She gasped in terror when I had told her I’d never seen it. Combine that with the surprisingly positive general consensus of the films among moviegoers, Kindergarten Cop became just interesting enough for me to include in this year’s March. But I had my prejudices; the film reeked of heavily-sentimental family films my Grandma would own and watch with me as a kid, completely ignoring the formulaic cues of plot progression and the less nuanced execution of development of any kind. Turns out I was half-wrong: Grandma would not have this in her VHS collection. It makes too many raunchy sex references for her to approve.
Fun fact: this was directed/produced by the guy who directed/produced Ghostbusters. Ain’t that a coincidence? And judging by the guy’s directing discography, this guy sure enjoys goofy Arnold Schwarzenegger comedies. If that doesn’t say anything about his legacy in Hollywood, I don’t know what does.
Raunchy as it may be, Kindergarten Cop is also very, very sentimental. And simplistic. But not too simplistic. There are times when the movie realizes it is being too simplistic and throws a fork-sized wrench into its narrative progression, just to make sure the audience really feels like it knows what’s gonna happen. I fell for it for about two minutes, then went straight back to what I predicted, and was right. But one shouldn’t forget the feel-good nature of the film, which, after seeing it, is probably the only reason people care about this film. Arnold is charming in a “Fish out of water” type of setting, and the kids specifically work well with him when they aren’t spouting adult nonsense like “BOYS HAVE PENISES AND GIRLS HAVE VAGINAS” or “ARE YOU GONNA DIE? EVERYBODY DIES!” The happy ending, where nothing of any consequence is ever realized and the people smile and dance as if life is but a dream, is inevitable.
Unfortunately, I’m gonna be a party pooper. I don’t really care for this film, though I acknowledge it has some nice parts to it. I wasn’t completely bored with the experience, as the last twenty minutes or so were genuinely interesting, if not stupid fun. In contrast, there is a lot about this film that’s not just dumb, but outright hilariously inept. There is a boy in school, within Arnold’s class, who is assaulted by his father. His mother is also assaulted by him. How does Arnold handle this? He tells the mother that if he hits them again, they should press charges. And… that’s it. Later on, it comes up again, and this time Arnold is PISSED. He chases after the mother to her car after she drops off her son to class with a new bruise on the back of his neck. He chastises her, “Why do you always say things like that? Why do you always justify these things?” He then sees whom he assumes is the boy’s father, charges towards him, and beats the shit out of him, only to stop when he realizes he’s causing a scene. Immediately afterwards, it shows him in the principal’s office apologizing for his actions… but then the principal not only compliments his abilities as a teacher, but relishes in the thought of being in his position and beating the shit out of the abuser. AND THEN IT IS NEVER BROUGHT UP AGAIN.
I’M SORRY, BUT WHAT THE LIVING FUCKING SHIT?!?
This is no different than blind justice in fan fiction! No different than someone writing out their own scenarios where bad characters in random media get punished for being assholes while the good guys spit on them and laugh at them for being assholes. It’s waaaaaaaaay too blatant and outside the realm of reality to be taken seriously, and it only makes the writing look super biased and horrible! And furthermore, what a way to make the victim of domestic abuse look like a complete idiot, Arnold! Clearly she’s such an inept mother and person to continue to allow something so simple as domestic assault! Not like the man could be the sole income of the house and leaving him would mean uprooting the family and having to essentially start life over. Not like the man’s dangerous and while capable of assaulting both his wife(?) AND his son, could also be capable of murder on top of it. Yikes. Those scenes triggered me pretty hard.
NOW THAT THAT’S OUT OF THE WAY, HAPPY RAINBOWS AND SUNSHINE!
Overall pretty meh.
Final Score: 4/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!