When Nickelodeon was the absolute kids/teen channel of choice back in the 90s (unlike the totally abysmal and utterly retarded Spongebob overkill dreck it has become in the last decade), Kenan & Kel (aka Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell) ruled along with other shows like Clarissa Explains It All, Sister, Sister (an ABC/WB show that was shown on Nick in the UK), Ren & Stimpy, etc. I’m not ashamed to say that I was a fan of their whacky series and, to this day, their shows are a great bit of escapist nonsense. The nutty 1997 big screen movie spin-off Good Burger is as good as their tv show in my opinion. The dvd – only ever released on Region 1 (USA & Canada) – which I managed to buy on import a few months back – is a long deleted rarity and often sells for quite a lot more than it’s original retail price. Kenan & Kel made only one other movie together – the made-for-tv movie Two Heads Are Better Than None (aka Kenan & Kel – The Movie) in 2000.
The plot: Dexter Reed, a high-schooler is forced to get a summer job at a fast food restaurant called Good Burger after causing a car wreck by his school teacher Mr. Wheat. So Dexter must pay off his teacher’s car by working very hard at Good Burger. Meanwhile things turn for the worse when Mondo Burger, a mammoth fast-food chain opens across the street and it looks like Good Burger is soon going to be history for good! Now it is up to Dexter and his new friend Ed the not-so bright cashier to save the day, as they develop a delicious special secret sauce that Ed creates and brings hundreds of new customers to their door – making their new competition desperate to steal the recipe and all of their customers. Teen actors Kel and Kenan from Nickelodeon fame make their feature film debut in this innocent, silly romp as employees trying to prevent the takeover of their fast food restaurant by the mega burger conglomerate across the street. Similar to comedy teams of the past, Kel is the dim-witted Ed and Kenan is the schemer Dexter, always looking for a quick way out of hard labor. The pre-adolescent humor of the film is as goofy as it is charming and the energetic duo of K&K serves up an entertaining meal for the kiddies. Shaquille O’Neal makes a cameo as does funk meister George Clinton. And yes, that is Abe Vigoda by that fry machine!
Good Burger is a total joy from start to finish. Charming, silly, fun and highly amusing comedy entertainment for the whole family from a double act I wish had lasted longer. Kel Mitchell, in particular, is on absolute hilarious top form here and, without doubt, steals the show. The interaction between Kenan and Sinbad is also very funny. Abe Vigoda is a pearl as the very old, death obsessed fryer and has some hilarious one-liners. Sinbad is also a bit of a treat as the desperately-trying-to-be-hip teacher who is making Kenan pay for damaging his car. A nice and easy feel good movie with a classic, cliched plot, likable characters and some hilarious situations and lines. For some, maybe Good Burger would be regarded as a guilty pleasure but for me it is just purely a pleasure. Simple, ridiculous, utterly charming and hilarious. It’s right up there with another fave of mine: Big Fat Liar.