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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Robbins|
by Dan Schneider
|Music by||Stewart Copeland|
|Edited by||Anita Brandt-Burgoyne|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$23.7 million|
Good Burger is a 1997 American comedy film directed by Brian Robbins starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. It evolved from the comedy sketch of the same name featured on the popular Nickelodeon series All That. It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Tollin/Robbins Productions, and was released on July 25, 1997 by Paramount Pictures.
On the first day of summer, slacker high school student Dexter Reed takes his mother's car, a Nissan 300ZX, on a joyride while she is on a business trip and accidentally crashes into and damages the car of his teacher, Mr. Wheat. Dexter is in danger of going to jail, as he does not have a driver's license or insurance. But Mr. Wheat agrees to let Dexter pay for the damages to both cars in exchange for not calling the police on Dexter. With the damages estimated at $1,900, Dexter is forced to get a summer job. After being dismissed from the new, soon-to-open Mondo Burger for clashing with and insulting the owner/manager, Kurt Bozwell, he ends up finding employment at Good Burger where he meets and reluctantly befriends dimwitted Ed and a host of other colorful employees. Initially, neither of them are aware that it was Ed who inadvertently caused Dexter's car accident; Ed had been on his way to make a delivery, and skated in front of Dexter, causing him to swerve out of control and crash into Mr. Wheat.
The survival of the smaller Good Burger is threatened by the grand opening of Mondo Burger, with its fancy decor and oversized burgers, but Good Burger is saved by Ed's new secret sauce. Upon realizing that Ed caused his car accident, and learning from Mr. Wheat that the true damages from the accident exceed the original $1,900 estimate (now $2,500), Dexter takes advantage of Ed to make money off the secret sauce in order to pay off his debt sooner. Ed signs a contract that gives Dexter 80% of his profits.
Ed's sauce vastly improves Good Burger's sales and draws the attention of Kurt Bozwell, who wants it for Mondo Burger. Kurt fails at luring Ed to Mondo Burger at a higher wage, and sends Roxanne, a beautiful employee, to seduce the sauce recipe from Ed; this ends with Roxanne being repeatedly injured by Ed's clumsiness and ultimately quitting her job.
Later on, when they notice a dog's refusal to eat a discarded Mondo Burger in favor of a Good Burger, Ed and Dexter become suspicious and decide to investigate. The two infiltrate Mondo Burger's kitchen and discover that their burgers are being artificially enhanced with Triampathol, an illegal chemical. Kurt discovers them, and calls an acquaintance named Wade, who has them committed to an asylum called Demented Hills so they can't tell the public.
Threatened by the success of Ed's sauce, Kurt and his men break into Good Burger after hours and taint Ed's secret sauce with shark poison, but are confronted by Otis, an elderly Good Burger employee who was sleeping on the premises, leading Kurt to commit Otis to Demented Hills as well. After informing Ed and Dexter about Kurt's scheme, the three of them manage to escape Demented Hills and steal an ice cream truck to drive themselves back to Good Burger, arriving just in time to prevent anyone from eating the poisoned sauce.
Ed and Dexter then break into Mondo Burger to expose their chemically induced burgers to the police. Dexter creates a diversion, during which Ed tries to take a can of Triampathol, but clumsily knocks one into the meat grinder. Inspired, Ed pours nearly the entire supply into the grinder. Meanwhile, Kurt has captured Dexter, when suddenly Ed arrives bearing an empty can. Kurt mocks Ed's presumed foolishness, whereupon Ed snidely comments that the can wasn't empty when he found it. At that moment, chaos ensues in the Mondo Burger building, as the burgers begin exploding due to overuse of Triampathol, which also causes the inside of the building to fall apart.
In the aftermath, Mondo Burger is now shut down, and Kurt is arrested for using the illegal substance and for contaminating Good Burger’s sauce. A large artificial burger has fallen from the rooftop of the Mondo Burger building and destroyed Mr. Wheat's newly repaired car as well. Dexter also tears up the contract he formed with Ed and tells him that he gets to keep all the profits from his sauce. Ed and Dexter then walk back to Good Burger where they are both praised by the other employees as heroes for saving the restaurant.
- Kenan Thompson as Dexter Reed, a sixteen-year-old high school student who desires to slack-off during his summer vacation.
- Kel Mitchell as Ed, the inept, teen cashier of Good Burger.
- Abe Vigoda as Otis, an elderly Good Burger employee who works as the fryer and also gets caught up in some of Ed and Dexter's adventures.
- Jan Schweiterman as Kurt Bozwell, the evil owner of Mondo Burger who will stop at nothing to make his food chain number one.
- Sinbad as Mr. Wheat, Dexter's teacher who demands money from him for car damage.
- Shar Jackson as Monique, a Good Burger employee who scolds Dexter for using Ed's gullibility to steal most of his money, but eventually becomes his girlfriend.
- Dan Schneider as Mr. Baily, the owner and manager of Good Burger.
- Ron Lester as Spatch, the head fry cook of Good Burger.
- Lori Beth Denberg as Connie Muldoon, a customer whose extremely complex orders are too difficult for Ed to memorize.
- Josh Server as Fizz, the drive-thru employee of Good Burger.
- Ginny Schreiber as Deedee, one of the 2 female employees at Good Burger who is a vegetarian.
- Linda Cardellini as Heather, an insane girl in Demented Hills that has feelings for Ed.
- Shaquille O'Neal as Himself
- George Clinton as Dancing Crazy, a Demented Hills patient.
- Robert Wuhl as an Angry Customer
- Carmen Electra as Roxanne, a henchwoman of Kurt who tries, but fails, to seduce Ed into telling his secret sauce recipe.
- Marques Houston as Jake, Dexter's high school friend.
- J. August Richards as Griffen, one of Kurt's henchmen.
- Hamilton Von Watts as Troy, Kurt's other henchman.
- Wendy Worthington as the Demented Hills nurse.
- Floyd Levine as Ice cream man
Most of the film's scenes were filmed along Glendora Avenue in West Covina, California, including at a restaurant currently known as "Peter's El Loco".Film includes short stop-motion sequence in its films title sequence as well as in its opening sequence.
The Action League Now! episode "Rock-a-Big Baby" was released prior to the film's screening. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $7.1 million and finished #5 at the US box office. It went on to gross $23.7 million. The film was released in the United Kingdom on February 13, 1998, where it reached #14.
Paramount released the film on VHS on February 17, 1998, and on DVD on May 27, 2003. Warner Home Video (who released Paramount titles on DVD and Blu-ray under license) reissued Good Burger on DVD on September 24, 2013. On August 29, 2017, Paramount re-released the DVD, as the Warner Home Video distribution deal has ended.
The DVD releases lack special features. The film has not been released on Blu-ray yet, unlike most of the films from Nickelodeon. The only official HD versions of the film are available on the iTunes Store, FandangoNOW, and Vudu.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 32% based on reviews from 38 critics and an average rating of 4.2/10. The consensus reads, "Good Burger might please hardcore fans of the 1990s Nickelodeon TV series that launched leads Kenan and Kel to stardom, but for all others, it will likely prove a comedy that is neither satisfyingly rare nor well done." Lisa Alspector of Chicago Reader wrote, "The perceived notion that kids want their movies fast and furious is barely in evidenced in this 1997 comedy, a laboriously slow suburban adventure in which a teenager's summer of leisure slips through his fingers when he has to get a job—an experience that proves almost life threatening because of the cutthroat competition between two burger joints." Andy Seiler of USA Today gave the film a score of 2/4, saying, "Good Burger is not very well done, but it does have energy." Leonard Klady of Variety wrote, "The meat of the piece is definitely FDA cinematically approved, and perfect if you like this brand of entertainment with the works." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "It didn't do much for me, but I am prepared to predict that its target audience will have a good time." He gave the film two out of four stars.
Retrospective reviews well after the initial release have described its continued popularity; Nathan Rabin, writing for Rotten Tomatoes, said it "obviously connected with a lot of children at the time of the film's release and holds up surprisingly well 18 years later." Courtney Eckerle said "the 90s generation will never forget [this deliciously terrible movie]" and Tara Aquino of Mental Floss called it "a silly cult hit that's indelibly a part of Generation Y."
- "AFI Catalog listing for Good Burger". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- Koch, Neal (December 1, 2002). "Business; Stepping Up in TV, Without Stepping on Toes". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- Henry, Jason (July 28, 2014). "Showtime's 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' pilot might boost West Covina's coffers". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- "Weekend box office 13th February 1998 - 15th February 1998". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- Hettrick, Scott; Honeycutt, Kirk (February 17, 1998). "'Good Burger' video bad, with R-rated trailers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2016 – via Highbeam Research. (Subscription required (. ))
- Tyner, Adam (June 5, 2003). "Good Burger". DVD Talk. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Good Burger (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
- Alspector, Lisa. "Good Burger". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Seiler, Andy. "Good Burger". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- Horst, Carole (1997-07-21). "Good Burger". Variety. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Rotten Tomatoes - Good Burger Reviews
- Rabin, Nathan (29 September 2015). "Does Good Burger Deserve Cult Status?". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
- Eckerle, Courtney (6 September 2011). "Best-Worst Movies: 'Good Burger'". The Observer. Notre Dame, Indiana. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
- Aquino, Tara (6 April 2016). "11 Delicious Facts About Good Burger". Mental Floss. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
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