Fired Up!
dir Will Gluck
scr Freedom Jones
with Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, John Michael Higgins, David Walton, AnnaLynne McCord, Juliette Goglia, Jake Sandvig, Collins Pennie, Philip Baker Hall, Edie McClurg
release US 20.Feb.09, UK 10.Jul.09
09/US Screen Gems 1h31
Fired Up
Here come the studs: D'Agosto and Olsen

sims higgins hall
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Fired Up Broad and very silly, this comedy just about keeps us chuckling even when things get stupid and predictable. It's not very well-written, but there are enough deranged characters to make it almost worth a look.

At Gerald Ford High School, two chucklehead jock pals--nice guy Shawn (D'Agosto) and blond hunk Nick (Olsen)--decide to skip a gruelling football practice and chase girls at cheerleader camp instead. Of course, they soon start to actually enjoy themselves, and Shawn begins to fall for one of his teammates (Roemer), but trouble is brewing as they prepare to face the archrival Panthers. Meanwhile, Nick tries to woo the seductive Diora (Sims), wife of the camp's gung-ho director (Higgins).

The script sets up every plot point in the most obvious way imaginable (one mention of the forbidden Fountain of Troy manoeuvre would be enough to give away the film's climax), and the plot follows every corny formula from the sleazy two-faced boyfriend (Walton) to the illogical jump to a conclusion that powers the break-up/make-up structure. Meanwhile, the film resembles a bright and goofy Disney Channel movie with its sunny attitude and too-energetic characters. Although it's spiced up with some PG-13 language and innuendo.

For the most part, the film is also shamelessly misogynistic, as Nick and Shawn play sensitive guys so they can seduce hordes of scantily clad women. Not to mention rather way too many "I'm not gay" protestations. But it's all tease, actually, as they are forced to learn Important Life Lessons about relationships and masculinity and so on. It's pretty tedious really, and most of the cast members overact outrageously through both the American Pie-style crassness and the accept-your-feelings moralising.

What saves the whole thing from being a waste of time is the use of comical aces in smaller roles. The likes of Higgins, Sims, McClurg and even Hall infuse the film with genuinely warped humour, including some terrific improvisational moments that help us cope with the stiff dialog and simplistic plotting. As the closing credits outtakes show, the set was clearly a lot funnier than the finished film turned out to be.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 23.Jun.09

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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall