Good Burger (1997) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Good Burger was inspired by a short sketch on an SNL type program for kids on the Nickelodeon channel. This isn’t the worst film to be drawn from a variety show and it even contains a few laughs, but the overall pacing turns 95 minutes into a tiring ordeal. While the main character is a somewhat mentally limited dufus, the filmmakers have smartly fashioned a 1980’s fast food raunchy comedy into a kiddie-friendly version that speaks to commercialization, work ethic, and friendship. Yet, it also contains scenes with the two young leads committed to a mental asylum and other bizarre story meanderings.

Ed (Kel Mitchell) is a socially awkward teenager, who works the register at his fast food job. It seems Ed is dimwitted, but he is a loyal and honest employee of Good Burger, even if he drives people crazy with his literal interpretations of slang. Dexter (Kenan Thompson) is planning a laid-back summer vacation, but those plans go awry when he crashes his mom’s car into his teacher’s (Sinbad) luxury sedan. Dex is forced to pick up a summer job to pay for the cost of repairs, he gets hired at Good Burger and begins the task of working at the failing burger joint. The corporate-backed Mondo Burger has moved in across the street and stolen all the business from Good Burger. That’s until Ed uses a secret recipe to add flavor to Good Burgers menu. This bit of ingenuity causes the customers to come rushing back and Mondo Burger’s management team kidnaps the teen misfits and steals Ed’s recipe.

This is a dopey, overlong movie extended from a sketch that becomes obnoxious within a few minutes. I appreciated the effort to appeal to the stoner crowd while staying within the confines of a PG rating. Ed and Dex could be considered younger heirs to Bill and Ted, but the film goes on way too long and the story’s predictability becomes fatal. Director Brian Robbins is a former teen idol courtesy of TV’s sitcom Head of the Class. He even gives his former castmate Dan Schneider a nice extended cameo as the Good Burger manager. These small touches aren’t enough to captivate for a feature-length film. Even those using medicinal aides will be starved for laughs in this unfunny comedy about corporate espionage.

Director: Brian Robbins
Stars: Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Abe Vigoda

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