Good Burger

After watching the movie:

For years, the front counter at Good Burger has been staffed by Ed, an oblivious but earnest young man. Corporate burger chain Mondo Burger opens across the street from Good Burger and threatens to take away all of Good Burger’s business. High schooler Dexter was looking forward to relaxing on his summer vacation, but when Ed roller skates through his path, Dexter crashes into his teacher’s very expensive car with his mother’s car he doesn’t have permission or a licence to drive. Dexter gets a job at Mondo Burger to try to pay for the damages, but gets fired on his second day. Ed gets him a job at Good Burger. Good Burger seems unable to compete with Mondo’s double size burgers until Dexter tries the special sauce Ed’s been making for himself and realizes it could be their edge. Having recognized Ed as the cause of the accident that ruined his summer, Dexter tricks Ed into signing a contract that gives Dexter 80% of the per-sandwich bonus the manager gives Ed for Ed’s Sauce. But Good Burger’s comeback isn’t something Mondo Burger will stand for.

Clearly Dexter was created for the movie as someone who could carry an emotional arc, because Ed is more of a force of nature than a character. It seems a bit of a cheat that the character the Good Burger sketches center on needs a protagonist to point him in the direction of a plot, but Ed is too flat and simple to take action for himself for a whole movie. He does however get to put his own spin on Dexter’s plan to save the day at the end that winds up working better than what Dexter thought up, so Ed gets to be the hero.

Mondo Burger uniforms look like spacesuits and I think that’s mainly to mark them as having a lot of money to throw around. The lobby is a pretty sterile area dominated by neon signage, which looks more cool than inviting. For all their corporate vibes though, I don’t think we ever see anyone more important than Kurt, the manager. I completely believe that a heartless fast food conglomerate would be doing what they’re doing with their food, but I don’t see someone like Kurt having nearly the level of despotic autonomy he does here. I would’ve found it more believable if he had a scene assuring a Suit that he was taking care of the competition by any means necessary. He can be a tyrant they’re pretty hands off with, but somebody above him should be pushing cold numbers at him. But then, I’m coming to this as an adult with experience at the bottom of a corporate hierarchy, and this story is from the perspective of a high schooler who’s not involved enough to really care about anyone more powerful than a store manager, someone who really doesn’t have much power at all.

This is a cartoonish adventure movie about saving a mom and pop shop from a corporate behemoth and nothing is taken very seriously. Mondo Burger is a brazenly evil entity that doesn’t have much substance beyond being evil. The point is just to have a challenge for Ed and his guide protagonist to face while being silly, a recurring sketch inflated to fill 90 minutes. It doesn’t have to be all that sophisticated, just fun.

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