FIRED UP! (2009)
Starring Nicholas D’Agostino, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, David Walton, Philip Baker Hall, John Michael Higgins, Danneel Harris, Hayley Marie Norman, AnnaLynne McCord, Adhir Kalyan, Juliette Goglia, Smith Cho, Margo Harshman, Jake Sandvig, Francia Raisa and Edie McClurg.
Screenplay by Freedom Jones.
Directed by Will Gluck.
Distributed by Screen Gems. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.
If you have been spending sleepless nights wondering what would happen if the Bring It On movies were written by someone who could… you know, actually write… then congratulations, your long personal nightmare is finally over.
The rest of us will meet the news with a collective shrug of, “yeah, whatever,” but still be secure in the knowledge that if we ever need a snappy, clever cheerleader camp movie, we now do have a slightly better option.
The movie is the film debut of director Will Gluck, who was the mind behind the short-lived but quirky FOX sitcom The Loop. Gluck may very well have written the film as well – the credited screenwriter is “Freedom Jones” which sounds a whole lot like an alias.
Fired Up! is about a pair of horn-dog high school jocks who decide to skip football camp to go to a cheerleading camp – where they figure they will be the only straight guys amongst hundreds of hot girls. These high school guys are played by Gluck’s Loop star Eric Christian Olsen (who is in his early 30s) and former Heroes regular Nick D’Agostino (late 20s) – both a little too old for the roles, but they seem to have immature down well enough (particularly Olsen).
Their evil plan is working perfectly – both of the guys are scoring left and right – when Shawn (D’Agostino) falls for Carly, the one cheerleader who seems to see through all their bull (played by Sarah Roemer of Disturbia.) Making things worse, she has a complete asshole of an older boyfriend who cheats on her (David Walton). Suddenly, it is about love for Shawn, not sex.
Besides, the guys suddenly realize that cheerleading is hard, important work… just as important as football. Plus, the cheerleaders smell better than the football players. Thus the guys have to decide if they will stick around for the big cheer-off or meet up with their football buddies at the big summer blowout bash at the summer house of one of their teammate’s parents.
If that plotline sounds a little familiar… congratulations, you’ve seen a teen sex comedy in the last thirty years.
However, if the plot of Fired Up! is clichéd, threadbare and a little dumb (and it most certainly is), the nice surprise is that the dialogue is often snappy, smart, current and very funny. It’s almost like “Freedom Jones” knew how stupid the whole genre was and he decided to deconstruct it from the inside. There is even a scene where the entire camp views the first Bring It On movie and yells out the bad dialogue in time with the film – as if it were a midnight movie like Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The filmmakers of Fired Up! may very well be trying to be trying to go the Rocky Horror route – take a stupid, bad old genre and then camp it up smartly – laughing with it and at it at the same time. They are not completely successful; they commit to the plot to an extent that they can’t completely mock it. Therefore, Fired Up! comes off as a weird hybrid – is it a teen sex comedy or a parody of a teen sex comedy? If the filmmakers can’t seem to decide, how can we?
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 8, 2009.