A kid named Devon wants to be a police officer. An actual cop, Detective Nick McKenna, is a Dirty Harry-type of renegade who doesn't play by the rules. Their worlds collide as Devon is witness to a crime and is brought in for questioning, but he refuses to give information unless the cops deputize him, give him a badge and put him on patrol. Since Police Are Useless, Devon is partnered up with well-known Child Hater McKenna and given his dream job.
This film contains examples of:
- Buddy Cop Movie: One with a grown officer and a boy who wants to be a cop.
- Character Development: McKenna starts off a very obvious Child Hater and is not amused to be partnered up with a kid. He eventually comes to care for Devon, right down to knowing what he likes for breakfast and becomes an absolute Papa Wolf when the Big Bad takes him hostage.
- Child Hater: McKenna.
- Comically Small Bribe: Imitating McKenna (who gave the bartender a twenty), Devon seeks information by slipping him a quarter.
- Drunk on Milk: While McKenna attempts to interrogate Bobo at a biker bar, Devon asks the bartender for milk. After receiving disapproving looks from the toughs at the bar, he asks for it "in a dirty glass" to raucous laughter.
- Freudian Slip: In a heated argument, Devon slips and calls McKenna a bad father. McKenna is confused while Devon angrily storms off declaring that he doesn't want him as a partner or a father.
- Fruit Cart: Sadly, while we see one, it never gets driven through.
- I Am Spartacus: As the gangsters round up all the kids at recess and ask for Devon, they each stand up one by one claiming that they are him.
- Parental Substitute: As the film goes on, it becomes clear that Devon is starting to see McKenna as a surrogate dad. In scene where the two get into an argument, Devon lets slip and accuses McKenna of being a bad father, much to his confusion.
- Police Are Useless: Any cop other than Burt Reynolds is unbelievably stupid. They do things like let a kid answer a police phone call that could've been an emergency, only have one cop protect a witness to a federal crime and don't even move him out of town, and allow a kid to give someone a speeding ticket for going three miles over the speed limit.
- Vandalism Backfire: Devon sets up his two bullies from school by standing next to a very expensive car and pretending it is his grandmother's. As the two bullies trash the car, Devon quietly slips away and waits for the two mooks that were chasing him to come out and see what is happening.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Thanks to years of watching cop shows and movies, Devon knows a lot about law enforcement.
- Would Hurt a Child: The mobsters have no problems with trying to kill Devon.