Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Produced by||Ivan Reitman|
|Screenplay by||Murray Salem
|Story by||Murray Salem|
Penelope Ann Miller
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Editing by||Wendy Greene Bricmont
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release dates||December 21, 1990|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Kindergarten Cop is a 1990 American comedy-thriller film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Kimble, a tough police detective, who must go undercover as a kindergarten teacher to catch drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson), before Crisp can get to his ex-wife and son, while along the way he discovers his passion for teaching. Pamela Reed plays his partner Phoebe O'Hara, and Penelope Ann Miller plays Joyce, the teacher who becomes Kimble's love interest. The original music score was composed by Randy Edelman. Schwarzenegger received a salary of $12 million for the film.[not in citation given]
After years of pursuing drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson), Los Angeles Police Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has him on a murder charge after Crisp shot and killed an informant who had given him information regarding the whereabouts of his ex-wife, Rachel Myatt Crisp, and his son Cullen Jr. However, the only witness, a drug-addicted girl named Cindy, the informant's girlfriend who was hidden at the time of the murder, is deemed too unreliable to put Crisp up for a permanent prison charge as she changes her mind about testifying, so Rachel Myatt has to be found and persuaded to testify.
Kimble, accompanied by Detective Phoebe O'Hara (Pamela Reed), a former teacher, goes undercover in Astoria, Oregon, to find Crisp's ex-wife Rachel. It is believed that Rachel stole millions of dollars from Crisp before fleeing. The detectives plan to offer her a deal to testify against Cullen in exchange for immunity. O'Hara is to act as the substitute teacher in the son's kindergarten class at Astoria Elementary School, while Kimble is to discover the identity of the mother.
Unfortunately, O'Hara, who is hypoglycemic, falls ill with a terrible case of stomach flu at the last moment, so Kimble takes the teacher's job. The school principal, Miss Schlowski (Linda Hunt), is suspicious, but Kimble adapts progressively to his new status even though he has no formal teaching experience. Using his pet ferret as a class mascot, his police training as a model for structure of the classes, and positive reinforcement, he becomes a much-admired and cherished figure to the children. In turn, Kimble begins to love his cover job and his young charges, to the point where he personally deals with a case of child abuse. He first speaks to the cowardly mother and tells her to warn her husband that he will press charges if he abuses their child again, and when the father takes no notice, Kimble assaults him in front of some students, finally winning Miss Schlowski's favor.
One of Kimble's students is a boy named Dominic. Kimble becomes fond of Dominic's mother, Joyce Palmieri (Penelope Ann Miller), who also works at the school. Joyce, like many other of the students' mothers, is estranged from her husband, so that she will not speak of him. This raises Kimble's suspicions. In a series of conversations with the gradually more trusting Joyce, Kimble slowly deduces that she has to be Rachel Crisp and that Dominic is Crisp's son. O'Hara has been posing as Kimble's sister and agrees with his deductions. Joyce reveals that she never stole any of Crisp's money: it was a lie he told to incite the underworld to find her for him.
Meanwhile, back in California, Cindy dies after using spiked cocaine provided by Crisp's mother, Eleanor Crisp (Carroll Baker). The case against Crisp is dismissed because the prosecution has no other evidence. Crisp is freed from prison and he and his mother immediately head to Astoria, where they begin looking for the child using the information from the informant. They identify Crisp's ex-wife and Crisp starts a fire in the library at the school in order to grab his son in the chaos, but he is seen. Crisp takes his own son hostage when Kimble confronts him, but Crisp is bitten by the ferret (which Dominic had rescued at the sound of the fire alarm) and Dominic wriggles free. Crisp shoots Kimble in the knee but Kimble shoots and kills Crisp before he can hurt Dominic. Meanwhile, noticing that O'Hara is trying to help Kimble apprehend her son, Eleanor knocks over O'Hara with her rental car. She ventures into the school, finds Kimble, and shoots him in the shoulder, but then discovers her dead son's body. Before she can shoot Kimble again and kill him, O'Hara arrives on the scene and knocks her unconscious with a baseball bat.
Crisp's mother is arrested, while the unconscious Kimble (much to the sadness of the children) is hospitalized. During Kimble's recovery, O'Hara and her chef fiancé invite him to their wedding. After Kimble recovers, he decides to retire from the police force and returns to teaching at the school. The kids are very happy to see him, and Joyce comes into the classroom and kisses him in front of all of the kids.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Detective John Kimble: A tough Austrian born LAPD street cop who's forced to take an undercover assignment as a Kindergarten teacher. The main protagonist.
- Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Palmieri / Rachel Myatt Crisp: A teacher whom Kimble falls for but who is also Crisp's ex-wife.
- Pamela Reed as Detective Phoebe O'Hara: Kimble's partner and a former school teacher who gets food poisoning, forcing him to cover for her on the assignment. She briefly poses as Kimble's sister, "Ursula Kimble".
- Linda Hunt as Miss Schlowski: The school's strict principal. Though initially suspicious of Kimble, she eventually grows to respect him when he assaults Zach's universally-disliked abusive father.
- Richard Tyson as Cullen Crisp, Sr.: A vicious drug dealer who is searching for Joyce and especially Dominic, respectively his ex-wife and son. The main antagonist.
- Carroll Baker as Eleanor Crisp: Crisp's overbearing mother. The secondary antagonist.
- Christian and Joseph Cousins as Dominic Palmieri / Cullen Crisp, Jr.: Joyce and Crisp's son who becomes close to Kimble.
- Andrew Dimarco as Zach Sullivan: A shy student in the class and the first one who Kimble suspects is Crisp's son, though he later learns that his mother is still married to his father and they are dealing with domestic violence. As a policeman with a hatred for injustice, Kimble later assaults Zach's father, whom he knows the law cannot touch easily, and berates his mother for her cowardice to protect Zach.
- Cathy Moriarty as Jillian
- Ben Diskin as Sylvester, Jillian's son
- Miko Hughes as Joseph, the child of an OB/GYN father
- Sarah Rose Karr as Emma, one of Kimble's students.
- Richard Portnow as Captain Salazar, Kimble and O'Hara's boss.
- Tom Kurlander as Danny: A criminal who gives Crisp information on his family but is later shot to be kept silent.
- Alix Koromzay as Cindy: She witnesses Danny's killing and becomes a state witness, but she is killed by Eleanor.
- Bob Nelson as Henry Shoop: O'Hara's fiancee.
- Tom Dugan as Crisp's lawyer
- Emily Eby as Julie
- Odette Yustman as Rosa
- Angela Bassett as Flight Attendant
Brian Bruney was an extra in the film. He was 8 years old at the time.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 50% based on reviews from 30 critics. It holds a rating of 61% at Metacritic based on reviews from 15 critics, indicating "[g]enerally favorable reviews".
Reviewer Caryn James of The New York Times has said, "Like Twins, which was also directed by Ivan Reitman, nothing in Kindergarten Cop is as funny as the idea of it." In Kim Newman's review for Empire he said "with a heart of purest mush, Kindergarten Cop still manages to be generally entertaining" and gave the film 3 stars out of 5. In a review for EW.com, it was said at the time of release that "the movie never quite gels" and "Kindergarten Cop is not going to generate quite the mega-hit business their producers are counting on", and gave the movie a 'C' grade. Roger Ebert said "Kindergarten Cop is made up of two parts that shouldn't fit, but somehow they do, making a slick entertainment out of the improbable, the impossible and Arnold Schwarzenegger" and awarded the film three stars.
In 2012, as an April Fool's Day joke, it was announced that Kindergarten Cop was selected for a release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc as part of the Criterion Collection, a video-distribution company dedicated to the release of "important classic and contemporary films." It was said to be selected as important in part because of its genre-revisionist use of both the policier and family comedy genres in the same film. 
Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a box office success, making over $200 million worldwide.
At Astoria, Universal Studios hired local artists to paint murals on the walls, provided new playground equipment, fenced the playground, and laid a new lawn and hedges around the school building. Most of the filming was completed after school was out in June 1990, therefore many of the students and staff were able to be in the movie as extras. Students' artwork was also used. Teachers and neighbors, as well as students, were used in filming; viewers see Astor School's custodian, "Mr. John" raising the flag for an early morning scene. Of note, Schwarzenegger's contract required that a private studio (for daily workouts and weightlifting) be provided for the actor and his personal staff; a suitable studio was located but when an agreement could not be reached, the actor threatened to pull out of the production. An Astoria business owner stepped in and donated unused commercial space deemed suitable and the shoot went on.
Also filmed in or near Astoria:
- John and Phoebe stayed at the Bayview Motel, 783 W. Marine Drive, Astoria. The vintage lodging facility "played itself" in the film.
- Scenes involving John and Phoebe walking to dinner, and Crisp and his mother shopping, were filmed on Commercial Street in downtown Astoria.
- The exterior portions of the restaurant scene were filmed outside the Seafare Restaurant at the Red Lion Inn, 400 Industry St., in Astoria.
- Scenes at Joyce and Dominic's house (interior and exterior) were filmed at a private residence located at 414 Exchange St., Astoria.
- Highway scenes were filmed on U.S. 26 east of Seaside, Oregon, 20 miles from Astoria.
- The school picnic was filmed at Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, Oregon, 25 miles south of Astoria.
Information on Astoria-area locations are courtesy of the Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Interior school scenes were shot at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The film's opening scene was filmed at the Westfield MainPlace in Santa Ana, California and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA.
|Kindergarten Cop: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score (Digital download / Audio CD) by Randy Edelman|
|Released||August 31, 1993|
- Astoria School Theme [1:06]
- Children's Montage [3:21]
- Love Theme (Joyce) [2:30]
- Stalking Crisp [3:40]
- Dominic's Theme/A Rough Day [1:54]
- The Line Up/Fireside Chat [2:57]
- Rain Ride [1:55]
- The Kindergarten Cop [1:27]
- Poor Cindy/Gettysburg Address [2:06]
- A Dinner Invitation [0:47]
- Love Theme Reprise [1:25]
- A Magic Place [2:54]
- Kimball Reveals the Truth [1:45]
- The Tower/Everything Is OK [2:29]
- Fire at the School [5:38]
- Closing [2:14]
- King, Susan (December 21, 1990). "Ivan Reitman, 'Kindergarten Cop's' Top Sergeant : Movies: The director of 'Ghostbusters' and 'Twins' faces his biggest challenge yet: a room full of tykes. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger was cowed.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
- "Arnold Schwarzenegger". The Numbers. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- "Kindergarten Cop". Rotten Tomatoes (Flixster).
- "Kindergarten Cop". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- James, Caryn (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (1990)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- "Kindergarten Cop". Empire. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Gleiberman, Owen (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (1990)". EW.com. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Ebert, Roger (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (PG-13)". rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Collection, Criterion. "Kindergarten Cop Ivan Reitman". Criterion Collection Site. http://www.criterion.com. Retrieved 2 April 2012.[dead link]
- Broeske, Pat H. (January 8, 1991). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : Moviegoers Go for the Laughs". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- "Filming locations for Kindergarten Cop". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
- "Schwarzenegger film scenes set in Astoria". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. May 25, 1990. p. 13D.
- "An Oregon principal is the real Kindergarten Cop". People 35 (2). January 21, 1991. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce
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- Kindergarten Cop at the Internet Movie Database
- Kindergarten Cop at allmovie
- Kindergarten Cop at Box Office Mojo
- Kindergarten Cop at Rotten Tomatoes