Imagine a film which looks like it is aimed at kindergarten children (MCA-Universal has even placed articles in national kindergarten school magazines), yet is full of sex, violence and foul language, some coming out of the mouths of little children. In line with the Motion Picture Association of America PG-13-rating, MCA Universal has told exhibitors that KINDERGARTEN COP is for 13-year-olds and up, but everything about the way the film is being marketed will attract little children. In fact, children are already begging to see this film which has so many kindergartners in the advertisements.
From the studio’s point of view, KINDERGARTEN COP tries to broaden Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appeal by having him cross over from battling aliens, invisible monsters and barbarian hordes to his toughest assignment–a classroom full of energetic five-year-olds. Thus, the movie’s title conveys the unique story line of a policeman-turned-kindergarten teacher.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John Kimble, a tough blow-them-off-the-face-of-the-earth Los Angeles detective who has spent four years trying to put L.A. drug kingpin Cullen Crisp behind bars. Using brute force to intimidate witnesses, Kimble gets Crisp on a murder one charge with a chance to put the dealer away forever.
To do so, Kimble must find Crisp’s runaway wife and child, and convince the wife to testify. He and fellow policewoman Phoebe follow a lead to Astoria, Oregon, where Phoebe plans to pose as a kindergarten teacher in order to determine which of the children is Crisp’s son.
Phoebe takes ill, so Kimble takes her place as the kindergarten teacher. After two days of mayhem where the kids run all over him, Phoebe tells Kimble to show no fear. Armed with this advice and a police whistle, Kimble whips the kids into line through physical exercise and exhausting calisthenics.
At the same time, Kimble looks for the fatherless boy who is Crisp’s son so he can protect him. Crisp’s mother, a wicked witch of a woman, engineers the death of the chief witness, and Crisp is set free. Kimble, meanwhile, finds the boy and falls in love with the mother. When Crisp comes looking for his son, it’s a bloody showdown in the kindergarten.
KINDERGARTEN COP is action-packed, fast-paced and contains some fairly good acting by all involved, including Schwarzenegger. Also, the film makes a positive statement about discipline for it is through his imposition of discipline that Kimble endears himself to the children, who grow to love and respect him. He also learns to love each of them, along with each of their idiosyncrasies.
Unfortunately, the film is full of anatomical terms coming out of the mouths of 5-year-olds, little boys looking up girls dresses, people blown away by shotguns, and Phoebe fornicating with her chef boyfriend. Any 5-year-old who sees this film is going to be extremely upset by some of the plot devices, such as the friendly ferret, whom John says will not bite, but at film’s end goes viciously for Crisp’s jugular.
Who can we trust when our hero has deceived us by allowing us to play with an animal that could rip us to shreds? Is this child abuse for children to be forced to say and see such things on a movie set? Is it child abuse for any children that might be brought by their parents to see this film?
On the other hand, Jesus blessed little children and reminds us that “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise,” not vulgarities. How sad that KINDERGARTEN COP capitalizes on children’s innocence! Thus, KINDERGARTEN COP is definitely not for kindergartners.
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Roughly 25 or 30 obscenities and profanities; promiscuity and fornication; murder and violence; and, drug dealing