July 6, 2009

Fired Up (2009)

AS A TEENAGER in the ‘80s, I grew up on the so-called “teen sex comedies” that poured out of Hollywood that decade. Most of them have been forgotten, and rightfully so. (Though I still say Porky’s, the granddaddy of them all, is a really funny film with a lesson-learning subplot involving anti-Semitism.)

Anyway, modern-day teen sex romps seem to be as quickly forgotten and dismissed as their forefathers (the increasingly devalued American Pie series notwithstanding). So did this year’s Fired Up buck the trend of tripe, or join their brethren in obscurity?

• Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) is the star quarterback and resident horndog at his high school. He and nice-guy buddy/teammate Shawn (Nicholas D'Agosto) are getting psyched about another summer at football camp in party-friendly Daytona Beach. However, their gruff, profane coach (Phillip Baker Hall) informs them that this summer’s camp is in the hot desert locale of El Paso, Texas.
• While mourning this news, the guys overhear that their cheerleading squad is heading to cheer camp in Illinois…where 300 girls from other schools will be attending. Nick then browbeats Shawn into ditching football camp and joining the cheerleading squad so they can be immersed in as many babes, boobs, and butts as humanly possible.
• After a few quick lessons from Shawn’s little sister Poppy (Juliette Goglia), Nick and Shawn bail on football camp for cheer camp. But cheer squad captain Carly (Sarah Roemer) is on to them, and plans to keep them in her sights…and at arm’s length.

• I was ready to dismiss Fired Up as another by-the-numbers teen sex comedy – to be filed under “Garbage In, Garbage Out” after a brief second life on DVD and On Demand. But I was happily surprised at how much it made me not only smile, but chuckle often and laugh out loud more than once. It has a crisp, rapid-fire delivery – relying on situations and dialogue for laughs, rather than American Pie-esque gross-out gags.
I don’t know why Fired Up didn’t do better at the box office. It’s a genuinely funny film amidst an ongoing glut of dumb, unfunny teen comedies. The marketing campaign didn’t do it any favors, selling it as a raunchy sex romp – and releasing it in February (the burial ground for bad films) was a mistake. Either way, it’s a pity.
I also don’t know why Olsen isn’t a bigger star. He was the only good thing in 2004’s Cellular (where I first noticed him), and he’s got the looks and acting skills to play the likeable a-hole to perfection.
• To use cheer competition-speak, I deduct one point from Fired Up for the inclusion of Brewster (Adhir Kalyan), a sadly over-stereotypical gay trainer at the camp.

Yes, Fired Up is predictable. Yes, you’ll root for the good guys and boo the baddies. No, it doesn’t matter. Because...

It. Is funny. It. It. Is funny.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Will your kids want to watch it?
I suspect tweens and teens will be drawn to Fired Up. Teens probably see, say, and hear what happens in Fired Up on a daily basis (except maybe for all the pompoms and human pyramids). But for tweens, use discretion: The movie’s rated PG-13, and appropriately so. A couple of examples why:
• Some crude language and sexual innuendo, though nothing a high schooler hasn’t heard before.
• Requisite T&A close-ups, though it’s pretty tame in the nudity department. Girls don’t go beyond bra and panties, while there’s one bare male butt and a sequence involving Nick and Shawn running down a street naked – cupping their manhood (manhoods? menhood?) and being forced to cheer nude with strategically placed pompoms.

Will your FilmMother like it?
As long as she's not looking for high art, then undoubtedly yes. Make Fired Up your next pick for movie/date night at home. You’ll enjoy it, and you’ll make points choosing something she’ll like as well.

"I brushed my hair with my uniform again..."

Fired Up
• Director: Will Gluck
• Screenwriter: Freedom Jones (a pseudonym for four uncredited writers)
• Stars: Eric Christian Olsen, Nicholas D'Agosto, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, Danneel Harris, David Walton, Philip Baker Hall
• MPAA Rating: PG-13 (crude and sexual content, partial nudity, language and some teen partying)

Buy this movie for less at Half.com >>


James (SeattleDad) said...

Thanks for the review. We are always looking for 'good' movies like this and have found most nowadays go a few steps beyond what is necessary and what we grew up with in the 80's, which is too bad. I will be putting this one in the queue.

Keith said...

I'll have to check this one out. I remember seeing the trailers for it. It seemed to come and go. You've made me wanna see it.

Kristin said...

Hmmm....what's movie night? I was just wondering; I haven't seen one of those in a while. And also, since when did you need to score points?!? ;)

Gemma said...

I NEVER heard of this movie, but I was busy raising two teenagers in the 80's. Grin. Sounds hilarious, and I'll try to see it.

Jeff Allard said...

I'm with you all the way on this one - I also had no expectations to like Fired Up but I ended up being genuinely entertained. Very funny, with likeable performances.

Jay Amabile said...

I watched this when it first hit Netflix - and I loved it. It was funny has hell and the ladies weren't bad either!


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