Get some rest and don't worry. I've been working undercover for a long time.
They're six-year-olds. How much trouble can they be?
The stubborn, autocratic, violent Police Detective John Kimble (Arnie) has pursued drug dealer Cullen Crisp for years. He finally arrests Crisp for murder, but is unable to convict him due to the refusal of a witness named Cindy to identify the killer. After Kimble psychologically humbles Cindy, Crisp is identified in a police line-up. Kimble, accompanied by Detective Phoebe O'Hara is then ordered to go undercover in Oregon, to find Crisp's ex-wife Rachel and their son, who are hiding from him, and offer her a deal to testify against Cullen. Since their appearance is not known to them, O'Hara is to act as the substitute teacher of the son's kindergarten class at Astoria Elementary School while Kimble has to track down the identity of the mother, who is believed to have stolen money from Crisp.
Unfortunately, O'Hara gets a terrible case of the stomach flu and falls ill at the last moment. Kimble therefore takes the teacher's job, much to the suspicion of the school principal, Miss Schlowski. Despite having no teaching experience — and thus initially collapsing beneath the stress—Kimble soon adapts progressively to his new status. Using his tame ferret as a class pet, his police training as a model for structure of the classes, fun games such as "Who Is Your Daddy And What Does He Do?", and positive reinforcement, he becomes a much-admired and cherished figure to the children despite the aggravation they bring him. In turn, Kimble begins to love his cover job and his young charges, even to the point of manhandling an abusive father whose son Zach attends Kimble's class.
Kimble becomes passionately fond of his student Dominic's mother Joyce, who also works at the school. Joyce, like many other of the students' mothers, is on terms of estrangement from her husband, so that she will not speak of him. This excites the suspicions of Kimble. In a conversation with the gradually more trusting Joyce, Kimble learns that Joyce and his quarry Rachel are one and the same, and conveys this to O'Hara.
Crisp is released from jail when his attorney arranges for his mother Eleanor to poison Cindy, who is the only witness. When they receive the news of Cindy's death and Crisp's release, Kimble and O'Hara tell Joyce the truth of their mission. She tells them that she never stole any money, but that Crisp wishes to control Dominic. She then leaves in a rush. Kimble attempts to track them down, to find that Dominic has gone without the knowledge of his mother to plant toy lasers in a radio-transmitter tower. Dominic has been raised believing that his mother has enemies, identified only as the "bad people"; to quell his own feelings of helplessness, he has made these toys and now wishes to put them into action. Kimble, remembering this, is able to retrieve Dominic. Joyce and Kimble share a kiss, as a sign of her gratitude and his protection.
During the next day, at the school, a newly arrived Crisp deliberately causes a fire in the library, which triggers the school fire alarm and initiates an evacuation as a diversion for the rest of the school children, and thus abducts his son; the other children, who have been put on the alert by O'Hara, see him and he flees. While Kimble searches for them, a frightened Dominic attempts to escape his kidnapper. Outside, O'Hara attempts to get in the building, but is kept outside by the firefighters. She takes her revolver out of her purse and runs around to the back of the school to get in, but is struck by Eleanor's car, after which Eleanor steals her gun. In the school's locker room, Kimble and Crisp fight over Dominic. When Kimble has the upper hand, Crisp threatens to kill his son. Just as Crisp is about to shoot Kimble, Kimble's tame ferret emerges from Dominic's shirt, where he had been concealed, and bites Crisp on the neck (earlier, Kimble told the children that ferret doesn't bite), causing Crisp to shoot Kimble in the leg. Kimble grabs his gun and kills Crisp by shooting him three times in the chest. Dominic, Joyce, and the ferret escape.
Eleanor enters and threatens the wounded Kimble. As she is about to kill him, an apparently intact but injured O'Hara enters and knocks her unconscious with a baseball bat. Eleanor is arrested, while the unconscious Kimble (much to the sadness of the children) is hospitalized. During his recovery, O'Hara and her chef fiancée announce their marriage, inviting him to it.
While Kimble recovers, he comes back to the school to visit his kindergarten classroom. While he is visiting, Joyce sees him and kisses him in front of all the kids. / Other Reviewers have said the Kimble returns as a full time teacher of his Kindergarten class, and leaves the police force. This is due to the fact that O'Hara needs to ask where to send the wedding invite (California or Astoria), even though his assignment in Astoria has finished. And also, when the school principal (Linda Hunt) says to Kimble as he re-enters the classroom "They're all yours", and hands him his teaching whistle, whereupon Kimble is given a hearty welcome back by Phoebe and his pupils.
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