Friday, February 20, 2009

"Eff You!" A Review of "Fired Up!"

Sometimes a movie is good because of a great concept, sometimes because the characters are really likable, sometimes a movie is good because of great direction, sometimes a movie is good because it keeps you guessing what will happen next, and sometimes a movie is good solely based on the dialog. “Fired Up!” is the last type of movie.

Shawn (Nicholas D'Agosto: “Heroes”) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen: “Dumb and Dumberer”) are a couple of the best players on the Gerald Ford High School football team, and they are also a couple of horndogs. The pair are such horndogs that they only joined the football team to better their chances at getting girls. This tactic has worked well, as the pair have pretty much worked their way through every girl at school.

When faced with two weeks under the hot Texas sun with no access to women at football camp, the guy discover that the cheerleaders have a camp of their own at the same time. Cheer camp is three weeks, but they would surrounded by hundred of cheerleaders that they haven't even met before. Sure they're supposed to go spend time at a friends house after football camp, but they decide to try to get into cheer camp, get their fill for the first two weeks, and then skip out.

Getting into cheer camp means getting onto the cheer leading squad, the Tigers, and with the help of Shawn's scheming sister, Poppy (Juliette Goglia), they are able to fool most of the cheerleaders into believing they are genuine. The one holdout is the team's leader, Carly (Sarah Roemer: “Disturbia”) , who sees through them, but is quickly circumvented by going straight to the team's coach.

Predictably enough, while working their way through the girls at camp, Shawn and Nick fall in love. Nick falls for Diora (Molly Sims: “Yes Man!”, “Las Vegas”), the wife of the camp's head coach. Shawn of course falls for Carly, which wouldn't be too much a problem once he's convinced her that he is genuine if not for her douche bag college freshman “pre-fiance”, 'Doctor' Rick (David Walton).

By the end of the first third of the film you should have the rest of the story pretty much figured out. There is almost nothing in the movie that I did not see coming. Predictability combined with the fact that this movie is PG-13 (so no female nudity, sorry guys) means that the only thing going for this are the performances of the cast. Luckily this is the film's strongest point.

It's clear (especially by the outtakes during the credits) that there was a lot of ad-libbing on the set of this movie, and that combines with some fairly talented character writing to give the movie's characters a lot of smooth fast-paced banter. If you are familiar with the show “Psych”, that is what the interaction between Shawn and Nick feels like, and this is the great thing. The dialog is really the one thing that keeps this otherwise unremarkable film from just being an hour and a half of homophobic humour, shots of girls in tight-fitting workout apparel, and little else wrapped up in an actually rather dull story.

The movie's ad campaign refers to it as “Superbad meets Bring It On”, and this is actually a perfect description of it. The movie does not relegate the plot line of the Tigers trying to show up their ultra-perfect rivals, the Panthers, to the back burner, but instead gives it the same amount of importance as the two-guys-trying-to-get-laid plot. Most of the cheerleaders are shown as being relatively dim and shallow, but cheer leading itself is treated as the highly athletic sport that it is.

This film dances that fine line between PG-13 and R ratings; while there are plenty of shots of girls in shorts, skirts, and even underwear, the only actual nudity you ever get is a couple of shots of man-ass. Also, there is a lot of foul language in this film, it escapes an R rating for that alone only for not using the “F”-bomb, although a four letter “S” word for feces is used a few dozen times (most of them in one scene early in the film). There is drug usage, sexual innuendo, drinking, and other behaviour that may be inappropriate for younger viewers.

If you really want to see a new movie this weekend, and you're not a fan of Tyler Perry in drag, then “Fired Up!” is in theaters today. It's not awesome, but it doesn't suck either. It will keep you laughing, but for the cost of a movie ticket you could do better. There will no doubt be some “Special Unrated Pom-Pom Editon” coming out on DVD in a few months, and I would say wait for that unless you are really into cheer leading movies.

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