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
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