Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Robbins|
|Based on||Good Burger|
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 and written by Dan Schneider, Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert. Starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, it is based on the comedy sketch of the same name on the Nickelodeon series All That. Produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Tollin/Robbins Productions, Good Burger was released worldwide on July 25, 1997 by Paramount Pictures. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $23.7 million against a budget of $8.5 million.
On the first day of summer, slacker high school student Dexter Reed (Kenan Thompson) takes his mother's car on a joyride while she is away on a business trip but accidentally crashes into and damages both his mother's car and the car of his teacher, Mr. Wheat (Sinbad). Dexter is in danger of going to jail, as he neither has a driver's license nor car insurance. Fortunately, Wheat agrees to let Dexter pay for the damages in exchange for not calling the police on Dexter. With the damages estimated at $1,900, Dexter decides to get a summer job. After being fired from the new and soon-to-open Mondo Burger restaurant for clashing with the owner and manager, Kurt Bozwell (Jan Schweiterman), he ends up working for Good Burger. There, he meets and reluctantly befriends the dimwitted yet charming cashier Ed (Kel Mitchell) alongside other colorful employees. Initially, neither of them are aware that Ed inadvertently caused Dexter's car accident. Ed had skated in front of Dexter on his way to make a delivery, causing him to swerve and crash into Mr. Wheat's car.
The survival of the smaller Good Burger is threatened by the grand opening of Mondo Burger, with its fancy decoration and oversized burgers. Luckily, Good Burger is saved by a new secret sauce created by Ed. Upon realizing that Ed caused his car accident and learning from Mr. Wheat that the damages from the accident exceed the original $1,900 estimate, Dexter takes advantage of Ed's gullibility to extort money from him so that he can pay off his debt sooner. Ed promptly signs a contract that gives Dexter 80% of his profits.
Ed's sauce vastly increases Good Burger's sales but draws the attention of Kurt, who wants it for Mondo Burger. After failing to lure Ed to Mondo Burger at a higher wage, Kurt sends Roxanne (Carmen Electra), a beautiful employee, to seduce Ed into revealing the sauce recipe. As a result, Roxanne is repeatedly injured by Ed's clumsiness and ultimately quits her job. The next morning, Monique (Shar Jackson) discovers the contract and scolds Dexter for stealing Ed's money, after everything Ed has done for him.
Later, when a dog refuses to eat a discarded Mondo Burger in favor of a discarded Good Burger, Ed and Dexter become suspicious and decide to investigate. They infiltrate Mondo Burger's kitchen and discover that their burgers are artificially enhanced with Triampathol, an illegal food chemical. Kurt discovers them and calls an acquaintance named Wade, who has them committed to an asylum known as Demented Hills so that they can't bring to light their misdeeds.
Afterward, Kurt and his men break into Good Burger and taint Ed's secret sauce with shark poison. Otis (Abe Vigoda), an elderly Good Burger employee who was sleeping on the premises, catches them red-handed causing Kurt to commit Otis to Demented Hills as well. After Otis informs Ed and Dexter about Kurt's scheme, the three escape Demented Hills and hijack an ice cream truck to head 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. Ed tries to take a can of Triampathol while Dexter creates a distraction, but clumsily knocks one can into the meat grinder. Inspired, Ed pours 2 cans into the grinder. As Kurt corners Dexter, Ed suddenly arrives with an empty can. Kurt mocks Ed's presumed foolishness, whereupon Ed snidely comments that the can wasn't empty when he found it. Chaos then ensues in the Mondo Burger building, as the burgers begin to explode due to the overuse of Triampathol. A large artificial burger falls from the display on the rooftop, which ironically destroys Mr. Wheat's newly-repaired car.
In the aftermath, Mondo Burger is shut down and Kurt is arrested for using the illegal substance and contaminating Good Burger’s sauce. Dexter tears up the contract with Ed and tells him that he gets to keep all the profits from his sauce. Ed and Dexter head back to Good Burger, where they are both welcomed by the other employees as heroes for saving the restaurant.
- Kenan Thompson as Dexter Reed, a 16-year-old high school student who desires to slack-off during his summer vacation. He has to take a summer job working in Good Burger to pay for his teacher's car repair and his mother's car.
- Kel Mitchell as Ed, the inept yet kindhearted and clueless 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 main antagonist; the owner of Mondo Burger who will stop at nothing to make his food chain the No. 1 restaurant in the world.
- Sinbad as Mr. Wheat, Dexter's teacher who demands money from him for car damage.
- Shar Jackson as Monique, a Good Burger employee who initially scolds Dexter for using Ed's gullibility to steal most of his money, but nonetheless becomes his girlfriend.
- Dan Schneider as Mr. Baily, the owner and manager of Good Burger. He is usually annoyed by Ed's antics.
- 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 two female employees at Good Burger who is a vegetarian.
- Linda Cardellini as Heather, an insane girl confined in Demented Hills who has a crush on 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 an ice cream man.
Most of the film's scenes were filmed along Glendora Avenue in West Covina, California in 1996, including at a restaurant currently known as "Peter's El Loco". Good Burger includes a short stop-motion sequence in the title sequence as well as in the opening sequence. It was filmed from March 9 to April 1997.
The Action League Now! episode "Rock-a-Big Baby" was released prior to screenings of the film.
Paramount released the film on VHS on September 8th, 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 film on DVD as the Warner Home Video distribution deal has ended.
The DVD releases lack special features. The film has yet to be released on Blu-ray, unlike most of the films from Nickelodeon Movies. The only official HD versions of the film are available on the iTunes Store, FandangoNOW and Vudu.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $7.1 million, finishing #5 at the US box office. It went on to gross $23.7 million worldwide. The film was released in the United Kingdom on February 13, 1998, where it only reached #14.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 32% based on 38 reviews with an average rating of 4.17/10. 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." On Metacritic the film has a score of 41 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Lisa Alspector of Chicago Reader gave the film a negative review, saying that "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 two stars out of four, saying that "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 gave the film two stars out of four, writing "It didn't do much for me, but I am prepared to predict that its target audience will have a good time."
Retrospective reviews well after the initial release have described its continued popularity; Nathan Rabin said that the film "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.
- Hettrick, Scott; Honeycutt, Kirk (February 17, 1998). "'Good Burger' video bad, with R-rated trailers". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016 – via Highbeam Research.
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- Steve., Holland, (1998). Good Burger 2 go. Schneider, Dan., Nickelodeon (Firm). New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0671023993. OCLC 40131454.
- www.amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/GOOD-BURGER-2-GO-NICKELODEON/dp/0671023993. Retrieved 2019-02-02. Missing or empty
- "Weekend box office 13th February 1998 - 15th February 1998". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- "Good Burger (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
- Good Burger (1997) - Metacritic
- 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.
- 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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