If you were a kid in the late 90s you’ll probably remember the television show All That, starring celebrites like Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Lori Beth Denber and Josh Server. You’d also remember them as stars in the 1997 Brian Robbins’ film Good Burger.
At the release of the film in 1997 the film was labeled as a flop. NY Daily News said, “If you like your burger well-done, you’re in for a disappointment.” but who gives an adult the right to review a children’s film? Almost 20 years later, the film is still being watched by the Millennial who can remember the film’s release. On release the film earned many reviews giving it one to two star reviews as well as a 33% on rotten tomatoes. Today the user-generated reviews have bumped that 33% to a 63% rating. Sure the numbers aren’t perfect, but this film is to spark nostalgia not win an Oscar 20 years later.
Full on nostalgia mode starts right from the beginning of the film when we are welcomed with the classic line that almost every Millennial has said one or twenty times in their life “Welcome to Good Burger home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?” followed up by Kel Mitchell’s character saying “Hi, I’m Ed.” Though the film starts like every other skit from All That, we get a solid plot that forms in two directions. The first plot line would be that of Kenan’s character Dexter Reed about fixing the car of his teacher Mr. Wheat (played by Sinbad). The second plot line is Ed and Dexter trying to save Good Burger from going out of business from the evil Mondo Burger.
The film includes lines that would be unheard of in today’s society such as when Dexter is working for Mondo Burger and Kurt (played by Jan Schweiterman) says “From now on, your LIFE is Mondo Burger! You can forget about your friends; you can forget about your family… because Kurt is now both your mother AND your father.” In today’s politically correct society that line would not appear in a modern film, nor would the almost adult line that Dexter uttered next “Kurt must look awfully strange naked.” Lets remember that this film had a PG rating. At one point Ed and Dexter find themselves in the classic 90s cross dressing scene where they rip a dress off of Ed to find him in full lingerie instead of male under garments.
Good Burger was filled with the celebrity appearances of Sinbad, George Clinton, Shaquille O’Neal and Dan Schneider (who wrote shows such as Icarly, Kenan and Kel, and was a head writer for the show All That). These prevalent 90’s celebrities kept the nostalgia real.
The film has an inherent good message for kids. Be true to your friends, get a job, cheaters never win and the favorite don’t judge a book by its cover . These messages are seen through Ed and Dexter’s adventures throughout the film. At the end of the film Ed saves the day by pouring the drug Mondo Burger is using into the meat causing the demise of Mondo Burger to be by their fault instead of going to the police with the can. Dexter is surprised to hear this and Ed tells him that he’s not stupid. Even though you’ve spent most of the film assuming Ed is a fast food idiot savant who only knows how to make secret sauce.
Overall the film hits a warm and fuzzy spot for an entire generation of young adults. Some of these young adults work in fast food similar to Ed and Dexter, but luckily don’t have to deliver it or deal with freakishly large hamburgers. Even if the film flopped in the 90s, this cult classic is a Throwback Thursday you might want to catch before its off of Netflix.