by Eric D. Snider
Released: July 25, 1997
[Some of these early reviews were written for my college newspaper with Kimber Kay, in the format seen here.]
ERIC: OK, we'll admit the only reason we wanted to see "Good Burger" was that we thought it would be fun to review a movie we hated. The commercials for this film, from the fine folks at Nickelodeon, make it look SO stupid and SO annoying, we thought it would be perfect. Imagine my surprise, then, when I actually liked it. The commercials don't do it justice: at least a few of the characters are likable, even sweet, and the movie is legitimately funny in some parts.
KIMBER: Parts, I will emphasize. Through most of the film I was wondering why I was still in the theater. If this is a movie for kids, my estimate of their intelligence has dropped again. There was a gratuitous use of mini-skirts, vinyl, crazy driving and exploding meat. Someone must have opened up the vault of stock characters from teen films. We have the grunting overweight pig-boy who flips burgers, the sarcastic babe the hero wins over, a stupid sidekick, an over-the-top villain and his anal retentive henchmen and a hero I can't identify with because he is too selfish and conceited even after his redemption at the end of the film.
Why does Sinbad still have a job? He has the worst case of over-acting I have ever seen. Watching him is like getting a sponge bath with sandpaper. It grates and leaves you irritated. If you do go to see this film, close your eyes when he comes on the screen to save yourself from having nightmares.
ERIC: You have to judge a film by its intentions. This movie is meant for kids, based on a sketch from the Nickelodeon comedy show "All That." Kids don't care about three-dimensional characters or original plot devices; they just want fun. "Good Burger" succeeds at what it tries to do, and it manages to be entertaining for adults, too. Complaining about stereotypes or predictability in this movie is like saying you didn't like "Schindler's List" because it wasn't funny enough.
Kel Mitchell, as the dim-witted, innocent Ed, is more talented than his partner, Dexter (Kenan Thompson). Ed gets some of the best laughs of the film with his complete stupidity and non-sequiturs ("Wanna see my belly button?"). Some of his lines, believe it or not, actually reflect some good writing, even from a grown-up standpoint. Being fun for adults has always been the hallmark of the Disney "kid" movies ("Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," etc.), and while "Good Burger" isn't on a par with those films, it's not something adults will hate, either.
KIMBER: I consider myself an adult, and I did not enjoy the film. I saw the silly song "I'm a Dude," sung throughout the film by the hapless Ed, as the highlight of the show. The plot premise was so tired I started yawning. The villians were NOT funny. All the humor from this film is tied up with the Ed character, but I see no reason to build a star vehicle for him. If you think Nickelodeon is funny, and like to watch more than an hour of it, you will enjoy the show. Otherwise you will be wasting your money.
ERIC: Perhaps it goes without saying, but I disagree. If you can swallow your pride, relax a little, and get together a group of friends who are willing to say, "One for 'Good Burger,' please," you may be surprised at how enjoyable this movie actually is. I suspect it may be the sort of film that does well when it comes to the dollar theater, where people don't expect quite as much from their entertainment and see movies they wouldn't see otherwise.
KIMBER: Save your quarters for laundry, or actually buy a good burger instead of seeing this stinker.
Rated PG, language, some comic violence and mild sex-related humor
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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