It has been 30 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger traded the badge and oversized gun for a polo shirt and sports coat in Ivan Reitman's 1990 action comedy classic Kindergarten Cop. The movie gave us some of the most quotable lines of the bodybuilder-turned-actor's career (which is saying a lot), but it also gave us more than a few things that don't make a lot of sense when you stop and think about it.
Now, I know stopping and thinking extensively about a comedy from 1990 shouldn't be something that I take seriously, but alas, here I am diving into all of the things that don't make sense about one of my favorite movies growing up. With questions about LAPD detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his police practices, the miraculous appearance of a certain ferret, and multiple other questions, there's a lot to look into here. So before we find ourselves cut off by another fire drill, let's get the ball rolling and look at the things that don't make sense about Kindergarten Cop.
What Kind Of Cop Is John Kimble Anyway?
I get it, John Kimble is a hardened Los Angeles Police detective who is known to lose himself in his investigations (just look at that beard, the duster, and family that is long gone), but what kind of cop is he? Before Kimble even goes undercover at the elementary school in Astoria, Oregon, where most of the movie takes place, he does some pretty ridiculous things that would certainly lead to a suspension or outright dismissal from the job.
In the first 15 minutes of the movie, John Kimble handcuffs a witness to her dead boyfriend, threatens her, pretty much stalks her and then shoots up the party where she is laying low. As soon as he walks into the party, Kimble begins shooting the place up indiscriminately and asks few questions before scaring everyone besides the witness out of the room. If that's not bad enough, the unorthodox detective waits for the film's antagonist Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson) in the police station and attempts to squeeze him for information without a lawyer present. There goes your big murder case, Kimble.
What's The Deal With The Ferret? Where'd It Come From And How Did It Get On The Plane?
Right around the time John Kimble and his partner Phoebe O'Hara (Pamela Reed) are arriving in Astoria to start the undercover operation (which quickly changes thanks to a mean stomach flu), we're randomly introduced to a new character that proves to have a major part later in the movie: Kimble's pet ferret. But wait, where did this thing come from and where was it during the flight up from Los Angeles?
The ferret is later brought in as a class pet when John Kimble tries to form a bond with the kindergarteners to figure out who is the son of Cullen Crisp, and ends up saving the day at the end of the movie, but the question remains: where did it come from and what kind of arrangements did Kimble make to get it on the plane? We don't see or even hear a peep from the detective's beloved pet until he randomly scares a sick and exhausted Phoebe O'Hara.
Why Didn't Kimble Tell Dominic That It Was A Bad Idea To Climb The Tower In The First Place?
A few days after having an impromptu dinner at a fancy restaurant, fellow teacher Joyce Palmieri (Penelope Ann Miller) invites John Kimble over to her place where the undercover cop goes on a walk with Dominic Palmieri to see the young boy's collection of toys and gadgets that he plans to use to protect him from the "bad men." One of those tools is a laser that he plans on installing on a large communications tower down the road from his mom's house. Sounds fun, right? Well…
When the teacher and student are looking at the tower, Kimble never even thinks to tell Dominic that maybe he shouldn't go climb a tall tower that will certainly lead to danger, injury, and possibly even death with one slip. And wouldn't you know it, that's what happens later in the movie when the young boy goes missing. Remembering the conversation (and hopefully the fact that he should have advised against it), Kimble goes and rescues Dominic who is stuck after slipping on the platform. All of that could have been avoided if Kimble, who is really into being a teacher at that point, would have said something.
Who Sets Fire To A School Full Of Children To Kidnap Their Son?
Once Cullen Crisp gets out of jail after the murder charge is dropped, he and good old mom head north in order to retrieve (see: kidnap) his son and make up for lost time. After sneaking around the school and acting like he is looking for a new school for his son, Crisp comes up with the lovely idea of starting a fire in the school library to get everyone out so he can take his son. It makes for a grand finale and is pretty exciting, but couldn't he have found a more low-key way of going about the whole situation?
Not only could he have hurt or even killed scores of children with the fire and ensuing chaos, he could have severely injured his son, which appears to be only thing he cares about here. He's a monster, yes, but this is taking things to the next level. Good thing the ferret goes all deus ex machina and saves the day.
What Makes Kimble Qualified To Become A Full-Time Teacher At The End?
And then there's the whole issue with John Kimble retiring from police work to become a full-time kindergarten teacher at the end of the movie. It makes for a nice ending and seems to be something that the former undercover cop really enjoys doing, but what qualifications and certifications does he hold in order to get the job on a full-time basis? Impress the principal, a few teachers, and shave a few minutes off the class' fire drill time and you have a job?
It has to do with the ferret, right? When you look at it, all of the good things that happened at the school have to deal with the ferret. The class begins paying attention and respecting Kimble once the ferret is out and the ferret saves the day when it bites Cullen Crisp in the locker room. Did Kimble get the job because of his pet?
Smaller Things That Don't Make Sense
- Seriously, how does Kimble still have a badge after everything he has pulled?
- What came of the whole child abuse subplot that is seemingly abandoned after Kimble punches the dad?
- How did Joyce not pick up on Phoebe's terrible (and changing) Austrian accent?
- How did Phoebe's fiancé drive from Los Angeles to Astoria (1,000 miles one way) and back to work at a restaurant in a single day?
Even with all of those things that don't make a whole lot of sense, Kindergarten Cop remains just a fun of a watch now as it did 30 years ago. I still want to know about that ferret's travel arrangements, though.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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