Hamburger Art

“Hamburger: The Motion Picture” (1986)

Just like the opening theme song states – “On almost any corner, of almost every town, on every lonely highway you ever travel down, you’re gonna find a burger shop – Americana – mom n’ pop” – the hamburger is indeed a perfect piece of Americana. Frozen, fresh, whatever the occasion, that juicy slab of beef stuck between two buns with all your favourite fixings stands as a glistening beacon of everything America represents. But maybe that’s just the grease that’s glistening. Either way, Hamburger: The Motion Picture offers you tasty entertainment with plenty of cheese!

Russell Procope (Leigh McCloskey, Fraternity Vacation) is just trying to get an education, but he’s been expelled from every college he’s been enrolled in. Women can’t resist him, and he can’t say no, and when his family inheritance of $250,000 is threatened to be taken away by his highly disappointed parents Russell has no more schools to turn to. That is until he catches a TV commercial advertising BusterBurger University, the training grounds for all managers and employees of a fast food burger chain, and they are offering a full-fledged diploma for dishing out the bull with no tuition costs! Trouble is Russell has got to swear off sex… so can he get straight A’s without giving an F…u-c-k?

Hamburger: The Motion Picture, aping the title of the previously released 1984 ski sex comedy Hot Dog… The Movie, was supposedly inspired by and parodying the Hamburger University program that fast food chain McDonald’s offered. If you’re looking for comedy full of ’80s excess such as tokenism, horny pop’d collars, the fat guy, the nerd, the crazy scientist, and plenty of innuendo and some T&A, Hamburger: The Motion Picture serves all that along with an unhealthy portion of fries and a shake. Russell, played with a dope-eyed charm by Leigh McCloskey, just really wants to impress his parents even though he really isn’t even up for impressing himself. That is until he meets the owner of the burger chain’s daughter (Debra Blee, Savage Streets), who also happens to be somewhat involved with the drill sargeant-esque spatula-swinging Drootin (played with demented zeal by Dick Butkus). This of course is a typical sex comedy set-up we’ve seen countless times, where our “hero” has to vie for the attention of the girl who’s somewhat out of his league. Plenty of hilarity and high jinx ensue throughout, such as escaping the campus to “eat out” at a Chinese restaurant, a sexual encounter gone wrong in a helicopter, and the final test at school which results in destruction of a BusterBurger.

Director Mike Marvin (The Wraith) and cinematographer Karen Grossman (Microwave Massacre) manage to cram the frame with a whole whack of characters and extras, which gives Hamburger: The Motion Picture much more production value than it, or it’s budget, probably allowed. The locations are colourful and campy, and everything wacky going on seems to physically feel apart of the atmosphere of the film and not solely for comedy’s sake. You’d think a movie of this nature, and title, would be more dumb than fun but Marvin and writer Donald Ross keep the gags and set-pieces moving at the pace it would take to get your BusterBurger order – fairly fast. There isn’t really a dull moment and you’ll have the many catchy songs sung on the soundtrack, including the opening theme “Hamburgers For America” by Jack Turner, stuck in your head long after the credits have rolled. Released on home video by Media Home Entertainment there’s a lot of beef and little bull to be enjoyed with Hamburger: The Motion Picture. And even if you’re a vegetarian, it’s well worth a bite! Orders up!

Reviewed by Tyler Baptist. All contents copyright 2013 Videonomicon.

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