Good Burger

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On the first day of summer, dim-witted but charming Ed (Kel Mitchell) experiences a nightmare featuring talking burgers. Troubled by it, he shows up late to work at Good Burger. On the same morning, Dexter (Kenan Thompson), a high school student, steals his mother’s car after she leaves for a business trip. He accidentally crashes into that of his teacher, Mr. Wheat (Sinbad). With no driver’s license or insurance, he is in danger of going to jail. Mr. Wheat agrees to allow him to pay for a total of $1,900 in car damage, which later becomes $2,500, instead of calling the police. He must find a summer job to pay for the expenses. He first finds employment at Mondo Burger, but after a clash with the strict manager, Kurt Bozwell (Jan Schweiterman), he is fired and has to find employment at another place, and manages to do so at Good Burger. There, he meets and reluctantly befriends Ed (who helps him find a job position) and a slew of colorful employees. Little does he know Ed inadvertently caused the car accident; he was rushing to make a delivery on rollerblades, and skated in front of Dexter, causing him to swerve and hit Mr. Wheat’s car.

Dexter finds much success at Good Burger, but his success takes a turn for the worse. Across the street, the Mondo Burger where he previously worked opens to the public. It produces oversized burgers, much bigger than the Good Burgers, and threatens to put them out of business. Fortunately, with the invention of Ed’s “secret sauce,” they are saved. After Dexter realizes that Ed caused his car accident, he takes part of Ed’s bonus paychecks earned from the sauce to pay off his debt to Mr. Wheat.

Good Burger continues to be popular because of Ed’s sauce, causing Kurt to attempt to steal it. First, he entices Ed with a higher hourly wage at Mondo Burger. Dedicated to Good Burger, he denies it. He buys Dexter a similar yo-yo that his dad bought him as a kid. It was at this moment that he not only begins to truly care about Ed, but he is also overcome with guilt for taking most of Ed’s bonus money. Kurt then sends in an attractive employee named Roxanne (Carmen Electra) who fails to seduce Ed into divulging his “secret sauce” recipe, ending up badly injured and resigning from her job.

Meanwhile, Dexter takes a shine to coworker Monique (Shar Jackson), and she eventually agrees to a double date with him along with Ed and Roxanne. The next day, however, she tells him off and breaks up with him after she discovers his attempts to cheat Ed out of most of his money.

Later on, Ed and Dexter encounter a dog on the street and attempt to feed him a Good Burger and a Mondo Burger. It eats the former, but refuses to even look at the latter, apparently sensing something wrong with the meat. Suspicious, Ed and Dexter disguise themselves as old women and enter Mondo Burger to find out what is wrong with their meat. They discover that they chemically induced their burgers with an illegal food additive called “Triampathol,” which makes them oversized. Kurt is not fooled by Ed and Dexter’s disguises and kidnaps them by sending them to Demented Hills Mental Hospital (run by his friend) to prevent the public from learning Mondo Burger’s secret.

After sending Ed and Dexter to Demented Hills, Kurt and his employees break into Good Burger after closing hours and spike Ed’s “secret sauce” with shark poison. When Ed and Dexter’s coworker, Otis (Abe Vigoda), attempts to call the police on them, Kurt takes him captive and sends him to Demented Hills as well. There, he tells Ed and Dexter about Kurt’s scheme to poison the “secret sauce.” They devise a plan to escape. Ed begins to dance and sing, encouraging the other patients to join in. After the entire mental hospital breaks out in dance, the trio escapes. They steal an ice cream truck to leave, but are pursued by a Demented Hills van; cleverly, Ed and Dexter throw ice cream treats at it, causing it to crash. Upon arriving at Good Burger, Ed stops a lady from eating a Good Burger with the poison-laced sauce just in time. Dexter then informs the staff that the sauce has been poisoned by Kurt and convinces them not to let anyone consume it. Ed and Dexter then break into Mondo Burger so they could expose the chemically induced burgers to the police. While Dexter provides a distraction, Ed tries to take a can of Triampathol, but accidentally knocks one into the meat grinder. Ed then decides to pours the rest of it into there. On the roof, Kurt catches Ed and Dexter and confiscates the empty can that Ed is holding. Just then, the building begins to blow up, caused by the Triampathol-overdosed burgers exploding. After it destructs and the patrons flee, the police arrest Kurt for illegal substance use. Ed then explains to Dexter that he did that on purpose to prevent Kurt from manipulating the legal system and escaping conviction, ironically responding to Dexter’s questions by saying, “I’m not stupid.” With the destruction of Mondo Burger, Mr. Wheat’s car is destroyed once again (much to Dexter’s amusement as he hands him the first half of the money owed for the damage).

Dexter apologizes to Ed for taking advantage of the latter’s salary from the sauce and both end up on friendly terms. They then walk back to Good Burger, where the employees praise them, especially Ed, as Good Burger heroes. The film ends as Ed proudly says “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?”

REVIEW:

It may be hard to tell or remember, but there was a time when Nickelodeon was fun network aimed at kids, not tween girls. Kenan & Kel was one of the shows that aired at the end of that era and perhaps may be best be known for introducing us to Kenan Thompson who starred in Fat Albert and is now the longest running cast member currently on Saturday Night Live, I believe. Also, it brought us this film that everyone has insisted I watch, Good Burger. Let’s see what all the hullabaloo is about, shall we?

What is this about?

Two L.A. teens with summer jobs at Good Burger try to save their small restaurant when a corporate giant burger franchise moves in across the street.

What did I like?

Burger time. To quote Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction, “I love a tasty burger!” At the same time, I would never work in a burger joint, for a myriad of reasons. However, I do like that these filmmakers made the job and atmosphere look fun and welcoming and the burgers were so tasty looking, but that might have had something more to do with my hunger.

Shar. A few years ago, Shar Jackson was all in the news for being Kevin Federline’s baby mama and all that reality TV drama. After his 10 minutes of fame were up, so were hers apparently, but I don’t see why. The girl is gorgeous and, has at least some acting talent. I think she also had a song or two released, but so does Paris Hilton, so that means nothing. What I like most about Shar’s character, though, is that she doesn’t fall into the typical “ghetto” trappings that I feel had this not been a kids’ flick, she would have. Instead, she comes off as well-spoken and educated, who just happened to have a job in the fast food industry.

SpongeBob? Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants. Ok, for those of you not familiar with the extremely popular, long running Nickelodeon animated series, it is about a dimwitted fry cook who works at a restaurant and the rival place across the street want the secret formula to their “Krabby Patties.” Being that this is a Nickelodeon property, as well, I can’t help but wonder if this is where the basic plot for SpongeBob came from. The similarities are hard to miss!

What didn’t I like?

Kel, dude. With Kenan enjoying immense success over on SNL, a long running joke has been “where is Kel?” I honestly have no idea. He may just be one of those guys that preferred to not stay in the spotlight. At any rate, this is not his best performance. This lovable, empty-headed, nimrod, for lack of a better term, sounds like a weird hybrid of Crush from Finding Nemo, Ted from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and pretty much every other surfer/skater dude. Thing is, I don’t really understand why he talks like that. Sure, they’re in L.A., but he roller blades to work, shows no sign of going to the beach and hanging 10, as it were, and no one else comes even close to speaking in such a way. Shaquille O’Neal makes a quick cameo and upon meeting Kel’s character asks him, “you’re not like everyone else, are you?”, or something to that effect. I guess the big mystery surrounding this guy is that he just isn’t like the rest of us.

Afro circus. I remember watching Sinbad on A Different World and then on his own show. The guy has a love for the 60s and 70s, that’s for sure. Does that excuse him dressing like a live-action Disco Stu, no. Seriously, there are two sides to my opinion on this. On the one hand this was probably done for comedic effect, which is totally fine, as it works to some degree and doesn’t make him seem like the antagonist that he sort of is. On the other hand, though, this is a teacher dressing! Initially, I thought maybe it was a Halloween thing, or something about the last day of school, but in subsequent scenes, we see him still sporting retro styles, though not as gaudy as in our initial introduction to him. Ay Caramba! This guy was just a mess, but at least the loud clothing distracts the audience from the giant plot hole that was thrown out with him wanting to help Kenan’s character, but instead keeps charging him money to fix his car.

Big or small screen? Taking into account that this was released when times were different, I still can’t shake the feeling that this just seems as if it were initially meant for TV audiences or direct-to-video (DVD). There is nothing screaming big screen that I can tell and it mostly just rehashes jokes, characters, and cast members from various Nickelodeon shows. Aside from the brief cameo by the always gorgeous Carmen Electra, we’ve seen everyone in this at some point on Nick, I believe. Perhaps the film should have stayed there, as well.

Watching Good Burger I was taken back to a simpler time and age, when the only worry I had was what to wear to school and which girl was going to ignore me. There is a definite nostalgia feeling that this film brings and that may be its best-selling point because, honestly, this is one of those film that isn’t that good, but because of fond memories people have of watching it when they were younger, it has persevered longer than it has any right. That being said, I wouldn’t go out and say this is horrible. As a matter of fact, it is a good choice for a family film. Do I recommend this? Yes, go get some burgers, plop down on the couch and have a blast!

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Good Burger”

  1. […] Earlier this week, Jimmy Fallon pulled off the impossible, reuniting Keenan & Kel on his show. In case you missed it, the clip is all over the internet. One of the highlights of their reunion was a sketch from their cult hit, Good Burger. […]

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