Movie News & Reviews

Not even teens will enjoy 'Fired Up'

Who among you is "fired up" to see Fired Up!?

I see no hands. Good, let's keep it that way. Fired Up! iseither a monstrous practical joke with itself as the punchline or acunning ploy to be the first teen sex comedy without any of the sex,drinking, and underage crimes that we all hate and would never want tosee on the big screen. But that's impossible -- why on earth would amovie want to imply its characters are doing all those thingswithout actually showing any of it?

To maintain a PG-13 rating, you say? But unless a movie was moreconcerned with cramming 14-year-olds into its seats than with beinggood or funny, that makes no sense at all. Look, this is all way overmy head. Right now, I'm a little more concerned with finding the rightspot to drive my car into the river so I can inhale water until I'veforgotten everything I just saw.

In Fired Up!, Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D'Agosto areimmensely popular high school football players who will use any trickto get a girl into bed. Yes, life is pretty sweet when you're acolossal asshole, but tragedy strikes when football camp rolls around,meaning a never-ending three-week marathon with no girls whatsoever.

Rather than killing themselves then and there, they decide to attendcheerleading camp instead, which is pretty much nothing butgirls. With no competition from other dudes, their plan goes offwithout a hitch.

Until they find themselves caring about becoming goodcheerleaders -- and D'Agosto swears off his womanizing to pursue SarahRoemer, their foxy team captain who's been suspicious of their planall along.

In other words, douchebags try to game the system and instead learnthe valuable lesson of shutting up, falling in love, and doing exactlywhat everyone else is doing. The staggering originality of FiredUp! doesn't stop there; it also finds time to be a "losers pulltogether as a team" sports movie and a veritable Noah's Ark ofexhausted stereotypes.

Yet it isn't immediately obvious that the movie will end up throwingshame upon the entire human race. For a brief window, there is theglimmer of potential when a couple jokes are made that sound as ifthey're actually funny. Of course, this is impossible, because directorWill Gluck is busy commanding Olsen to do his best minor-league RyanReynolds impression while everyone else holds an ongoing competitionfor "Mr. and Mrs. Loud, Obnoxious Horrowshow." In this toxicenvironment, any flower of comedy is poisoned before it can take root.

But that's OK, because it turns out writer Freedom Jones has a realbad case of Internet Writer's Disease. A recent phenomenon, the bestexample of which is Juno, this condition occurs when a writerhas spent years being the wittiest boy or girl on the blog, then takestheir cheap irony and clever-clever banter to the big show only todiscover they're a moron.

For instance, remember Chumbawumba? So does Fired Up!. Pickuplines are endlessly hilarious, too, right? Also, and this is alittle-known trade secret, but it turns out lame catchphrasesmasquerading as jokes are even funnier the fifth time you repeat them.Crude exaggerations of things such as gay male cheerleaders are prettydamn great, too.

The funniest moments are its unintentional ones, like when D'Agostotells his cheer team the way to succeed is to be a cocky prick,unaware just how badly this technique has been failing him and Olsenall along. The bitterest irony of all is when the two of them exhorttheir team to take big gambles or go home. With its scant, predictableplot, cheap and tame jokes, stock characters, and aura ofmeaninglessness, Fired Up! takes no risks at all.

Grade: D-