Awfully Good: Good Burger

January couldn't end without taking one more celebrity from us. RIP Abe Vigoda. You were great in everything, from THE GODFATHER to…


Good Burger (1997)


Director: Brian Robbins
Stars: Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Abe Vigoda


"Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?" x 1000

GOOD BURGER is the epitome of a generational movie. For some children of the 90s, it's a nostalgic embrace taking you back to Saturday nights watching All That and other Nickelodeon staples. To others, it's a painful descent in to a bizarre hell of juvenile humor and repetitive jokes. Both are valid viewpoints. 

When normal basketball began to get boring for Michael Jordan, the stakes had to be raised.

I doubt even the most staunch GOOD BURGER fan will defend this as a "good" movie, as it definitely feels like a one-note sketch stretched out an extra 85 minutes. But if you found Kel Mitchell's surfer voice and random catchphrases funny on All That, you should feel right at home with the feature-length version that sees the Good Burger gang taking on evil corporate chain Mondo Burger. (That's all the plot and story you're going to get, by the way.) 

The Pink Panther really, really liked Good Burger.

If anything, GOOD BURGER knows its tween audience and is unwavering in its resolve to please them. It's really stupid, but there's a certain charm to it. Had I been a few years younger when this came out, it probably would've been right up my wheelhouse. There's an old school approach to a lot of the humor, playing on words and literal interpretation that feels vaguely reminiscent of AIRPLANE and early ZAZ films. Even when you're not the target demo, it's nice to still be able to see that some level of effort went in to something. Director Brian Robbins, who would go on to be Eddie Murphy's unfortunate muse with NORBIT, MEET DAVE and A THOUSAND WORDS, keeps things quick-paced and fun, greatly aided by a decidedly 90s soundtrack featuring The Presidents of the United States of America, George Clinton, and Less Than Jake.

Kenan Thompson every time he remembers he was in HEAVY WEIGHTS.

If there's one reason this film works at all, it's all Kel Mitchell. Kenan Thompson is straddled with the straight-man character, leaving Kel to do all the heavy lifting as Ed, Good Burger's most interesting employee. Rewatching this now, I was honestly shocked that I didn't find Ed annoying by the end. Kel manages to play Ed as stupid but likeably good-natured and keeps him watchable despite the character's repetitive nature. There are a lot of memorable, eye-rolling one-liners and gags and Kel pulls off the majority of them rather effortlessly. (My favorite exchange: "Ed, I don't know how to say this…" "Oh, well, you just go, Thiiiissssssssssss.") Even when GOOD BURGER takes an oddly serious detour for five minutes, Kel is also much better at selling Ed's desperate loneliness than Kenan is with his random daddy abandonment issues.  

Sinbad could never understand why HOUSEGUEST doesn't have more of a cult following.

There's an eclectic supporting cast comprised of random All That cast members, as well as bigger names (for the 90s) like Sinbad, Shaquille O'Neal, Carmen Electra, and a young Linda Cardellini. But of course the all-star here is the late Abe Vigoda, who's used as the butt of constant old-age jokes in GOOD BURGER as Otis, the establishment's senior employee. Everyone constantly mentions how Otis is about to die, but Vigoda got the last laugh—living for nearly another 20 years and outlasting almost everyone else's careers. 

Forever young…

The best of Ed's dumbest moments, plus other one-liners.

The best of Abe Vigoda's Otis, as well as Kel assaulting a baby and an old woman.  


I'm a dude. He's a dude. She's a dude. Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Ed offers to take someone's order
  • Ed sings the "dude" song
  • Ed confuses a word or phrase or takes something literal
  • Something of Sinbad's gets destroyed
  • Carmen Electra gets hurt

Double shot if:

  • Abe Vigoda is old


Thanks to Rory and Eddie for suggesting this week's movie!


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