Fired Up!
I don’t know who to give food to first …

Theatrical Release Date: 02/20/2009
Director: Will Gluck
Cast: Eric Christian Olsen, Nicholas D’Agosto, Sarah Roemer, David Walton, Molly Sims, John Michael Higgins, AnnaLynne McCord

F-U! (clap, clap) F-U! (clap, clap) F-U! (clap, clap)!

No, I’m not just exercising a restrained version of my first amendment rights! I’m getting all of you pumped about “Fired Up!” Well … okay, it was more about chanting thinly veiled obscenities … but surprisingly, if you have a soft spot for average, predictable teen comedies, this one’s going to fit the bill! Holy crap, I have to stop using exclamation points! Dammit …

The entire premise of the film is that two high school football players, having diddled their way through most of the girls at their school, hatch a grand scheme to join the cheerleading squad so they can take a sexual dip in a fresh gene pool at the all-important cheer camp.

I’ve been a fan of Eric Christian Olsen’s for a number of years and I only wish he’d find more work in better films. Here, he ably steals the comic spotlight and delivers his lines with the finesse and ability of someone quite frankly, too good to be in this trite fluff.

His partner in crime (Nicholas D’Agosto) is the straight man of the duo – charged with providing the film with a sense of heart. He does fine but there isn’t much to the character that separates him from any other bland lead actor in any other generic teen comedy.

The main love interest in the film, Sarah Roemer, is reminiscent of a young Amy Smart. Like the physical resemblance (which is a good thing), her mannerisms and charm gave me constant pause as I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t Ms. Smart. As forgettable as her wooing suitor in the film is, she managed to keep my interest piqued.

A special note of thanks must go to David Walton, who plays Roemer’s boyfriend. He’s the classic definition of a tool, wrapped in the cloak of a jerk and smothered in a-hole gravy. Whenever the film seemed to lose too much steam, his character would drive up in his yuppie car, blaring some classically terrible music and he’d flaunt his medical expertise (being a 1st year med student).

The supporting cast is decent, doling out fun performances no matter how cliché the script. And although there were a few running gags that were so juvenile and played out that they never really worked, somehow the zeal with which the actors would deliver their lines made some of them bearable.

The cheerleading aspect is sub-standard at best. Sure, there are lots of people tumbling around and a whole host of aerial feats but none of the routines elicited any excitement. If you’re going to set an entire movie at cheer camp … get some better cheers. While much of the male brain can be subverted via the use of short skirts on barely legal coeds (the film’s PG-13 though so don’t think you’re getting much more than that), I did manage to notice my annoyance at the choreography, or lack there of.

(Though I did have to laugh that the head cheerleader of the “bad” team (AnnaLynne McCord) was so obviously cast for non-athletic reasons … watching her “cheer” was like watching Kirsten Dunst sing in “Spider-Man 2″; it just came off as ridiculous).

Really, what it boils down to is whether you can deal with the predictability and vanilla nature (albeit wrapped in raunchier clothing) of the film. I will admit that “Fired Up!” was more entertaining than I thought it might be but that’s sort of like saying my trip to the DMV went smoother than expected. Considering its genre, and factoring in my appreciation for Eric Christian Olsen’s performance, I’ll go ahead and give the film a 3 out of 5. This isn’t going to become “Bring It On” for the new millennium (though welcome nods to the film are made throughout) but there are enough interesting characters to make this a good time on a slow weekend afternoon … on TV … free TV.

And stick around for the credits. There are some short wrap-up scenes and line delivery flubs that will appear as well as a little cameo at the end that certain TV geeks will definitely appreciate.