There was a time not long ago when slapstick comedies like Hamburger…The Motion Picture seemingly occupied half the multiplexes in America. The cinematic formula, arguably pioneered by the much-maligned Police Academy heptalogy, was devilishly simple: Throw a bunch of wacky, hormonally charged characters into close quarters and let physical mayhem ensue. I was squarely in the target demographic when these films had their heyday, and forked over many a dollar to watch fat people fall of helicopters and buxom blondes reveal their bras.
In hindsight, of course, one must admit that most of these movies were really, really terrible—and thus ideal fodder for our semi-regular Bad Movie Friday feature. Hamburger…The Motion Picture is truly the bottom of the barrel, and not only because of those stupid ellipses in the middle of the title. This is the perfect example of a film that was almost certainly dreamed up by a high-as-a-kite studio executive who drove by the All American Burger on Sunset Boulevard and thought to himself, “You know kids like? Hamburgers!” Even the great Dick Butkus couldn’t save this horrific mish-mash, which inspired a Variety review that could never be written in the post-9/11 world:
To judge Hamburger…The Motion Picture fairly requires certain relative standards of the filmgoing experience. If, for example, the theater were captured by terrorists and a member of the audience killed every 20 minutes for eight days, that would be a bad filmgoing experience. Without the terrorists, Hamburger is merely a poor filmgoing experience.
Fortunately, appearing in this turkey didn’t stymie the career of handsome leading man Leigh McCloskey, now primarily known as an artist who recently collaborated with Flying Lotus on Cosmogramma. No one from the rival Hot Dog…The Movie appears to have attained such lofty creative heights.