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With Jim Sabatini


Fired Up

Fired Up
Starring:
Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer


Rated: PG-13 crude and sexual content throughout, partial nudity, language and some teen partying
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: February 20, 2009 Released by: Screen Gems

This formulaic teen cheerleading comedy is scattershot and doesn't even deserve an exclamation point at the end of its title. Someone must have done a favor for the MPAA as the openness of such a mainstream feature demonstrates. Yet, it never feels it necessary to push the boundaries with some creativity rather than sheer raucous forceful farce.

Will Gluck's sorry, very smart-alecky Fired Up! is without much rooting interest; it's a crude, cheap version of Bring It On, which it adores, by way of American Pie. It lustfully works off of stereotypes in tearing through cheerleading camp. Much like what Jason Voorhees does again at Camp Crystal Lake.

Two varsity Gerald Ford high school footballers for the Tigers, Shawn, the tight end (Nicholas D'Agosto) and his quarterback Nick (Eric Christian Olsen, who's in his early 30s) bypass a hot southwest Texas football camp for cheerleading camp. It's about getting laid with new babes that have to be better than the ones they've been used to in southeastern Illinois (though shot probably not too far from the San Fernando Valley). The film's one-two prurient punch seems to have its crassness out there to see from the notion that "Life is what's happening while you're making other plans."

The snappy ad-lib style of D'Agosto and Olsen (remember Dumb and Dumberer) has some absurd, wild banter to it (provided by Freedom Jones' screenplay), as Shawn becomes drawn to the Tigers' cheerleading captain, Carly (Sarah Roemer of Disturbia). Shawn and Nick are on a prurient road show, yet the lame attempts at comedy and raunch barely register. Some may find amusement with Carly's "pre-fiance", the obliviously narcissistic self-proclaimed Dr. Rick (David Walton) or the sarcastically vigorous John Michael Higgins's really closeted Coach Keith. Watch his gestures and use of the titular acronym. His comely co-head wife Diora (Molly Sims) is swooned in no time by Nick, as he and Shawn do their lothario best to plow through the camp.

Fired Up! pits the usually lowly Tigers up against topdog Panthers with its venomous cheering team epitomized by Gwyneth (Annalynne McCord). As easy as Carly sees through Shawn and Nick, it's apparent where the story and she will end up. It rarely ignites any vigor throughout with an outdoor screening of an aforementioned movie hinting at the outcome of the big game. Juliette Goglia exhibits some sass as the diminutive Poppy and Philip Baker Hall a blast of cursing as the football coach.

But besides Higgins and maybe D'Agosto (whose way better than anyone else his age here, especially the guys) this Red Bull cinema ready as the editing, acting and dialogue heed the signal of a (uh-oh) potentially raucous duo if someone like Adam Sandler has a say in it.

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