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Good Burger

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Good Burger

Starring: Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson
Director: Brian Robbins
Rated: PG
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: July 1997
Genres: Comedy, Kids

*Also starring: Sinbad, Abe Vigoda, Shar Jackson, Dan Schneider, Shaquille O'Neal

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

For those of you who thought GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE was too subtle and who found DUMB & DUMBER too intellectual, don't give up -- Nickelodeon has just the movie for you, GOOD BURGER. With the two stars from Nickelodeon's TV series "All That," the film provokes constant laughter. Although the adults may be somewhat surprised, and perhaps a bit embarrassed, at how hard they laugh at the story's ridiculous humor, the six to eleven year old target audience will have no such reservations.

"Welcome to the Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?" chirps the extremely likable guy with the "I'm Ed" button. Ed, whose IQ might be too low to measure, is played with a sweet charisma by Kel Mitchell. The other half of the "All That" series, Kenan Thompson, plays the somewhat brighter kid named Dexter. Whereas Ed is so dedicated to his fast-food position that he sleeps and even showers in his Good Burger pen stripe uniform and hat, Dexter is just there to make enough money to pay off the damages he caused to the car of his teacher, Mr. Wheat.

Sinbad clearly enjoys playing the minor role of Mr. Wheat. With the world's worst Afro hair and outfits with sequined, foot long lapels, Mr. Wheat remains firmly stuck in the 70s.

Ed's stupidity borders on legendary status. ("If you ask me, the guy's a few tacos short of a combination plate," is how one character so aptly puts it.) When a customer complains that the hamburger he ordered "with nothing on it" was just a bun, he yells at Ed, "I'm reporting your name to the manager!" Ed, with his raspy Bill Paxton-style voice, incongruously explains, "The manager already knows my name."

Later in the film when Ed is threatened with, "You better watch your butt!", he spins around trying. "I give up," he finally concludes. "There is no way a guy can watch his own butt."

The heart of the film is the war between Good Burger and the new competition across the street, Mondo Burger. Mondo Burger is run by the nefarious Kurt, played by Jan Schweiterman as a cross between a Nazi and a cult leader.

Steven Jordan's candy-colored design for Mondo Burger is exactly how Disney might redesign a Planet Hollywood to bulk it up and make it more playful. Natasha Landau's costumes include shiny plastic jumpsuits with big zippers for the Mondo Burger staff. The resulting look reminds one of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

First-time screen writers Kevin Kopelow and Dan Schneider went for a completely outlandish comedy without a hint of social relevance, and they succeeded. People all around us were laughing hard and often, albeit not as much in the second half when the show begins to run out of fresh gags and falls back a few times on that perennial favorite of slapstick, food fights. But even then, director Brian Robbins manages to find new ways to stage them.

This terminally silly film has an undeniable charm. Kel Mitchell as Mop haired Ed is a character I'll not soon forget. Although the show is one I expected to hate, I fell for Ed and his band of idiots.

GOOD BURGER runs a fast 1:34. It is rated PG for a few mild profanities. The show would be fine for all ages. My son Jeffrey, age 8, and his friend Steven, age 9, thought the movie was "really, really funny." Steven's favorite scene was of the exploding burgers, and Jeffrey's was the one where Ed preferred miniature golf over being alone with a sexy woman. I can't believe I'm recommending this film, but I am. There were plenty of laughs, well worth ** 1/2.

Copyright 1997 Steve Rhodes

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