If you're looking for a fun movie, you can't do much better than KINDERGARTEN COP. No, it isn't brain surgery, but it's a funny, well-paced movie that pits Arnold Schwarzenegger against murderers and kindergarteners.
The movie opens in a mall in LA where John Kimball (Arnie) is trailing a hoodlum. Said hoodlum shoots a man, which Kimball misses, but a friend of the man sees it. The friend doesn't want to cooperate, but Kimball convinces her to, and he learns that the hoodlum is looking for his son, who is hiding in Oregon. Kimball is able to put the hoodlum in jail, but the hoodlum has a mother who effectively prevents the friend from testifying against her baby boy.
But this is the throwaway part of the movie. The movie really starts humming when Kimball and O'Hara (wonderfully played by Pamela Reed) go up to Astoria, Oregon to infiltrate the kindergarten and find out which kid has such a dangerous father and would his mysterious mother turn state's evidence against a man she's been running away from for four years. Illness prevents O'Hara, an ex-teacher herself, from going to school, so Kimball has to teach the kids. There are lots of funny scenes here, more than the trailer would show you. The kids are cast *very* well. They aren't too cute, and they aren't overly destructive. A few say some truly outrageous (but always true) things, like "My Dad is a gynecologist. He spends all day looking up vaginas."
I particularly enjoyed the wonderful rapport that O'Hara and Kimball had. When Kimball starts falling for one of the other teachers (and a prime suspect for the runaway mother), O'Hara magically becomes "Ursula," Kimball's sister from Austria. Penelope Miller gives a nice performance as said teacher, and the Cousins twins give a sweet performance as her overly helpful son, Dominick.
Arnie has a knack for choosing good scripts. I don't think he's been in a bad movie since the Conan flicks (though his first film was one of the worst movies of all time--HERCULES IN NEW YORK). He's not a great actor, and he can't be subtle, but he's very enjoyable.
It's PG-13---should kids see it? It depends. A few of the kids use correct anatomical words and that may bother some parents. There's a scene with brief male nudity (no, not Arnie). The last fifteen minutes or so, when the hoodlum father and his slimey mother arrive in Astoria, may bother some sensitive children. My ten-year-old daughter really enjoyed it.
Oh, and all you Pamela Reed fans out there---there's is a superb moment for you just before the end of the movie. I won't say what happens but I know I enjoyed it!
I hate movies that advertive themselves as "the feel-good movie of the year," but I think KINDERGARTEN COP was just that for me.