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Fired Up...Watered Down

Movie title: Fired Up (2009)
Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: The two most popular guys in high school decide to ditch football camp for cheerleader camp.
Spoilers ahead: No

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I understand perfectly the appeal of raunchy teen-targeted comedy. The stuff sells. Hearing about bodily processes, “scoring” with the opposite sex, the lure of “getting wasted,” the glories of pot, and an undying love of fraternity drink-offs makes sense. I loathe the immaturity, but it makes sense.

Kids love to see these things. If they didn't, we wouldn't be having the rising floodwaters of cheap, bad, worthless teen movies that have been assaulting our sense of good taste since the late 1990s. What I don't understand is how a film like Fired Up is supposed to fit into this category.

It's not raunchy enough. It's not dirty enough. It falls out of step in only mildly having boys (yes, boys, not men) gawk over female anatomy and “making out.” And it had an actual plot—a plot that was a little unbelievable, but a plot all the same. Is applause called for?

Two guys, Shawn Colfax (Nicholas D'Agosto) and Nick Brady (Eric Christian Olsen), want to rake in the babes, but they decide to go about it in a most unusual way—by becoming male cheerleaders, thereby getting closer to the “action.” But things don't go as planned. What starts out as a means to a fling ends up being an educational experience.

The journey should be exciting when you have two above-average looking guys and a busload of short-skirted honeys. But there's more, like “cat fights” between rival teams, a jerk boyfriend of Nick's hotly desired “Carly” (Sarah Roemer), a borderline pervy male director “Coach Keith” (John Michael Higgins) who was practically born with palm-palms in his hands, and a team that – believe it or not – could use their help. Now, if only they can get out of football practice and away from a coo-coo-for-cocoa puffs “Coach Byrnes” (Philip Baker Hall) who loves a certain four-letter curse word a little too much!

At some point, every sensible parent of young boys asks, what does it take to rid my young man of juvenile foolishness? Some might answer that with a suggestion to make arrangements for summer camp, others a trip to a foreign country for a month or two, but who would suggest becoming a male cheerleader? Probably no one. It is a fact, however, that doing things we don't want to do makes us better off than we otherwise would be, and that can mean that the blood-sweat-and-tears road to self-improvement happens by accident. Just imagine…two guys on a quest for what they want finding what they need? Who'd have thunk it?

What Fired Up gets is a round of applause for stepping up and having a story with some meaning and constructiveness, but the title doesn't quite fit. Fired Up is “watered down” when it comes to comedy. Regrettably, humor was offered up on the altar along with the raunchiness, and in return, we get a Sarah-plain-and-tall story. I still must complain—that's not what I ordered!

D'Agosto and Olsen’s screen presence wasn’t bad, nor was their acting. What was only a hop, skip, and a jump from “bad” was that a connection was never made to the real world, turning the viewing experience into a reminder that the story is a cutely concocted comedy, a romance novel-style fiction, but without the humor to redeem itself.

(JH)

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Director: Will Gluck
Starring: Nicholas D'Agosto “Shawn Colfax,” Eric Christian Olsen “Nick Brady,” Sarah Roemer “Carly,” Molly Sims “Diora,” Danneel Harris “Bianca,” David Walton “Dr. Rick,” Adhir Kalyan “Brewster,” AnnaLynne McCord “Gwyneth,” Juliette Goglia “Poppy,” Philip Baker Hall “Coach Byrnes,” John Michael Higgins “Coach Keith,” Smith Cho “Beth,” Margo Harshman “Sylvia,” Hayley Marie Norman “Angela”
Genre: Comedy

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