Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.
Release Date: February 20th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Will Gluck Actors: Nicholas D’Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Danneel Harris, Molly Sims, AnnaLynne McCord, Juliette Goglia
wo things give “Fired Up!” an edge over its competition: a remarkable amount of clever and inventive sexual metaphors, and a few eccentric characters that mask the lackluster, stereotypical illustrations. The main protagonists provide an excellent anchor for the hijinks that ensue. While their character arcs progress formulaically, it neither detracts from the bawdy, immature humor exhibited, nor reduces the quantity of scantily clad cheerleaders parading about. Maybe it’s a shame that one can predict the course of the film twenty minutes in, but the story really isn’t that important; it’s merely a means to an end. And that end is often displayed in short cheerleading skirts.
Dreading the thought of attending another miserable football camp devoid of female presence, Gerald R. Ford High School’s most popular students, Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen), plot their escape – by joining cheerleader camp instead. Looking for action, and with statistics of several hundred girls to each guy, the duo assumes they’ve got it made. But when head cheerleader Carly (Sarah Roemer) gets wise to their plan, and Shawn quickly falls for the hard-shelled beauty, both will learn that when it comes to love, well… maybe no valuable life lessons will be obtained, but somehow everything will turn out okay.
“Fired Up!’s” humor is based almost entirely on dialogue; granted, there are the typical awkward physical gags, but the verbal jokes create the main course of hilarity. Even though the film is PG-13, the R-rated intent is evident – every curse word is simply substituted for either creative nonsense, or less severe lingo. “Biscuits,” “Nutter Butter,” “fresh produce,” and all sorts of jargon are used to replace naughtier verbiage – including Nick’s realization that he can use “true feelings to wrangle snooch.” And the cheesy analogies aren’t half bad. Every sentence feels like a bad pick-up line, riddled with sarcasm, innuendo, and a hopeless tongue-in-cheek presentation. It comes as no surprise that an audience of teens can laugh at the cheerleaders’ memorization of every line in “Bring It On” or the reference to “Hamlet 2,” but the mention of Nathan Lane or Tracy and Hepburn delivers puzzled looks.
At some point, it would seem an embarrassment for cheerleaders to be portrayed as they are in “Fired Up!” (as similarly degrading as Band Camp in “American Pie”), but the enthusiastic plot begs an air of acceptance. This is about as typical as a PG-13 teen comedy can get, with a generic story that never deviates from absolutely predictable. But for all of its shortcomings in originality, a few scenes and characters truly are humorous, if for no other reason than plain discomfiture. Plus, hearing little children curse never seems to get old.
– The Massie Twins