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.
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|
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 doesn't have a driver's license nor car insurance. Fortunately, Wheat agrees to let Dexter pay for the damages in exchange for not calling the police. With the damages estimated at $1,900 however, Dexter's forced 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 (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 estimate, Dexter takes advantage of Ed's special sauce 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, unbeknownst to him.
Ed's sauce vastly increases Good Burger's sales, but draws Kurt's attention, who wants it for Mondo Burger. After failing to lure Ed to Mondo Burger with 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. The next morning, Monique (Shar Jackson) discovers the contract and scolds Dexter for stealing Ed's money after everything he 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 Demented Hills asylum so that they can't bring their misdeeds to light.
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 the chemical while Dexter creates a distraction, but clumsily knocks one can into the meat grinder. Inspired, Ed pours a second can into the grinder and leaves the kitchen. 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 because of the overuse of the chemical, completely wrecking the interior. A large artificial burger falls from the display on the rooftop, which ironically lands on and destroys Mr. Wheat's newly-repaired car. Dexter, amused at this, snidely pays a distraught Mr. Wheat half of the money owed for the original repairs, commenting he'll come up with the rest by summer's end.
In the aftermath, Mondo Burger is destroyed, and Kurt is arrested for using the illegal substance and contaminating Good Burger's sauce. Ed, proving to be smarter than he lets on, explains that even if he had managed to get a can of the chemical to the police, Kurt would've hired lawyers to dispute the charges, and nothing would've been resolved in any reasonable amount of time; so instead, he dumped multiple cans into the meat supply, and let Mondo Burger be destroyed by its own criminal activity. Dexter tears up the contract with Ed and tells him that he gets to keep all the profits from his sauce from now on. Ed and Dexter head back to Good Burger, where they are both welcomed by the other employees as heroes for saving the restaurant. After getting back to the register, Ed says "Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?", before giving a smile.
- 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 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.
Film sequel and Book sequelEdit
Aladdin published a children's novel, Good Burger 2 Go, as a sequel to the film. The 160 page book, written by Steve Holland, featured Ed following a short-changed customer around the globe. On September 23, 2015, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell made a "Good Burger" Sketch for a reunion on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. On March 5, 2018, Kel Mitchell said talks on a Good Burger 2 in the moment. On December 13, 2018, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell stated they are open for a potential sequel or reboot.
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."
A soundtrack containing hip hop, R&B, funk and punk rock was released on July 15, 1997 by Capitol Records. It peaked at 101 on the Billboard 200 and 65 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The soundtrack features the single "All I Want" by 702, which reached number thirty-five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
- "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.
- "Good Burger (1997) - Box Office Mojo".
- 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.
- "How the Hell Did 'Good Burger' Even Happen?".
- 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.
- Tyner, Adam (June 5, 2003). "Good Burger". DVD Talk. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- Steve., Holland (1998). Good Burger 2 go. Schneider, Dan., Nickelodeon (Firm). New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0671023993. OCLC 40131454.
- Holland, Steve; Schneider, Dan (1998). Good Burger 2 Go. ISBN 0671023993.
- "'Good Burger 2' Talks Are Happening Confirms Kel Mitchell". Movieweb. 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
- Good Burger 2 might happen
- "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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