February 28, 2009

Movie Review: Fired Up!

firedup1_largeI am sure you are wondering why I saw this film. I mean, I had to have seen the trailers, which looked pretty lame, right? Yes, you are right; however, allow me to direct you towards my library of film reviews, I am sure you will find less worthy films that I have reviewed and, dare I say, I've actually liked a few of them. The trailer for Fired Up! does not look good, it actually seemed to be totally soulless and devoid of humanity, still it had a couple mildly humorous moments, but that was mainly do to the presence and timing of John Michael Higgins as one of the coaches. Still, it seemed bound to be just another faceless cheerleading movie with the gimmick of having a couple of wolves in amongst the sheep, taking the focus away from traditional cheerleading competition.

firedup1Honestly, I did not have any intention of seeing this movie, not on the big screen at least. It was all but set to fall victim to the economic crunch as it was sheered from my to see list pretty early in the process. However there was something that actually made me change my mind and that was Harry Knowles' review at Ain't it Cool News. I am not really sure why I read it, but I did and his enthusiasm got me interested. It is hard to take his writing at face value, but he is always excited about whatever it is he is writing, and that is always a good thing. So, I took that interest and put the film back on the schedule and now, here I am smiling as I reminisce on the time wasted in front of a cheerleader movie.

Fired Up! is, on the surface, just another cheerleading movie in the vein of the Bring It On, the difference here is a healthy dose of sex drive from movies like American Pie. It strikes me as a blatant attempt to make a cheerleader flick acceptable to the male demographic. It has those elements necessary for the female target with the added bonus o a couple of Lotharios for the guys to latch onto. Yes, this is a broad generalization, but that is what focus group minded studios do when working on a formula picture. They know they have the girls, so why not make a play for a wider audience? Nothing wrong with that. Surprisingly, they very nearly hit the mark.

firedup3At the center of the movie are Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) and Shawn (Nicholas D'Agosto), they are big men on campus, getting any girl they want and having their way with the opposition on the football field. As summer approaches, the duo prepare for football camp, only to be disappointed to discover the camp has been moved from sunny Florida to the dry, girl-less climate of Texas.

Not looking forward to a month without girls, the two concoct a scheme to ditch the jock camp and join up with the cheerleaders to go to their sunny Florida camp where the male to female ratio is greatly tilted in their favor.

Now, the plot is as conventional and predictable as they come. Mix a little bro-bonding, random sexcapades, misunderstandings and genuine romantic entanglements, all with a competition in the background and you are all ready to go. If you don't have it figured out in a few minutes, you aren't watching.

Despite the utterly generic plot, the movie is still one worth checking out if you are in the mood for some funny one-liners, surprisingly decent comic timing, and a tale that won't tax your brain, this is the flick for you.

firedup2Fired Up! wants to take some cues from Judd Apatow's raunch with a heart comedies yet temper it with something a bit safer for a wide audience. They get pretty close, but they forget the key ingredient that would have helped push it towards being truly worthy of your time, heart. This movie has none. It makes a slight attempt at making a connection but it does not go far enough and ultimately is a hollow emotional experience. What is left is the ability to deliver the one liner.

The screenplay by Freedom Jones (his first produced work) is filled with one liners that will leave you in stitches, while at the same time leaving you looking for an in to connect with the story. What brings it all together is the work of Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D'Agosto. These two have strong chemistry and their delivery is spot on. In particular, Olsen is very funny with some great timing, his delivery does a great job at making everything just a little bit funnier.

Bottomline. No, this is not a terribly good. I cannot put my heart into a recommendation. Still, there is no denying that it made me laugh. It is dumb, predictable, and not really worth your time, while still being infectious in its ability to deliver a joke.

Mildly Recommended.

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