A few weeks ago, during one of those late nights when YouTube becomes a rabbit hole for those who don’t get enough sleep, I found myself looking for random clips from, primarily, “a cop from kindergarten”. That 1990 action movie directed by Ivan Reitman, who died this weekend at the age of 75, is not what I would call a personal favorite, although I couldn’t deny (or, for that matter, explain) that it’s weird persistently held in my memory.
When memories are needed, I was only 8 years old when I first saw Schwarzenegger shout “SHUUUUUUUUUUUP !!!” in a class of rebellious toddlers, an unpleasant start to perhaps the least compelling covert investigation in LAPD history. Now, recklessly revisiting this and other scenes three decades later, I had questions: Was the film as strange, absurd, and painful as I remembered? If they did that now, how would they rework this stunningly intense shootout in the school restroom? And, of course, without a car you’re not so hard, right?
This last point still works great, even if the rest of the film only works in a hurry. Like Reitman’s other hits to get a softer side of Austria’s most famous solid – including “Twins” (1988), in which Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVita played separated siblings, and “Junior” (1994), in which united the two actors as the instigators of the world’s first male pregnancy – “Kindergarten Cop” – is something like the triumph of a high concept over uneven performance. Is that so?
Reitman’s most memorable comedies almost blur the line between silly rags and exquisite craft. Looking back on his films – many of them more friendly than the separation on the sides – that is, flipping through the range of hits and misses, a catalog of comic imperfections. It’s not bad, actually. Imperfection sometimes ages better, or at least stronger than perfection.
In the 16 or so plots he directed over three decades (and many, many others he created), Reitman passionately embraced the imperfections of both innate human rights and the comprehensive comic principle. He urged his actors to riff and improvise, especially the shrewd instinct when among these actors were such masters as Bill Murray, Harold Remis, John Candy, Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi. His emphasis on collaboration and renunciation of arrogance seemed natural, perhaps to someone who came to direct through production. (His early production roles included David Cronenberg’s early horror films “Shivers” and “Shaky”, which led to his 1978 hit “National House of Animals Lampoon’s Animal House.”) As a director, Reitman was early and often written off by critics. . – even more grateful – as more of an apprentice than an author. He carried that reputation with ease, just as he accepted second-class citizenship, which is too often given in comedy in Hollywood drama.