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Saturday, February 4, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 54 - Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Kindergarten Cop (1990; Universal Pictures)

Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to my list (he said he’d be back), this time in an even worse movie than Jingle All the Way!  Kindergarten Cop is the story of a cop named John Kimble (played by the Terminator himself) who goes undercover as a substitute Kindergarten teacher to protect the son of a dangerous criminal from abduction.  This is an impressively annoying film, filled with loud, bad child actors that essentially scream every line while Arnold mugs for the camera and continues to fail at English.

This is one of those Random-Plot-Generator films and it shows.  Everyone seems miscast, every line misconceived, the plot: so contrived as to be totally unbelievable.  The children all fit into a series of stereotypes that are easily recognizable and all are easily categorized except for the kid that is to be protected, who is as generic and uninspired as anything George Lucas could conceive.

We’re supposed to find the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger teaching kindergarten inherently funny.  Well, it’s not.  This movie is loud, stupid, pointless and the so-called suspenseful ending is so silly that it boarders on laughable and, like the rest of this movie, is really just aggravating.  One example of the many contrivances in this film is that John’s partner, Phoebe (Pamela Reed) was originally meant to teach the class but gets a cold so he has to do it.  Give me a freaking break.

I honestly think they didn’t even try with this movie.  Every bad joke about things kids do is featured prominently, and badly, in this movie.  Kindergarten Cop is a lazy study of Hollywood cynicism, a 90-minute movie that reaches for the two-hour mark, and boy does it feel long too.  There is a ton of padding in the form of “date” scenes with John and the mother (Penelope Ann Miller) of the boy he’s supposed to protect, and random cuts to the illness-stricken partner for no apparent reason except to remind us why we’re watching Schwarzenegger desperately try to be funny, all the while enduring the shrieking children acting out the lamest episodes of Kids Say the Darnedest Things.

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