There are so many raunchy, sex-driven teen comedies out there, most of which are pure garbage. Miss March? Ridiculous. The whole straight-to-DVD American Pie series? Junk. I Love You Beth Cooper? I shudder at the title alone. But Fired Up? What was so terrible about that one? In fact, I think it's quite good. The film is downright hilarious, it has some heart and is entertaining through and through.
It stars Nicholas D'Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen as Shawn and Nick, two jocks so obsessed with the ladies, they opt to ditch football camp for cheerleading camp. They convince their high school squad, The Tigers, they're committed solely for athletic purposes, but they've got another plan in mind; hook up with as many ladies as possible before ditching and attending an epic football party. Problem is, not only does Nick develop a little crush on the head cheerleader, Carly (Sarah Roemer), but both guys find themselves getting into the whole cheer thing.
I've seen Fired Up dozens of times now and I still can't figure out why it got trounced by critics. Okay, D'Agosto and Olsen are a little old to be playing high school kids, but since when was that ever a problem? The only time I ever thought twice about their age is after I actually watched the film and caught their birth years on IMDB. Yes, perhaps the fact that Olsen was 30 and D'Agosto was 27 at the time of filming would warrant the film to be reset perhaps with a college cheerleading team at the epicenter, but this in no way breaks the film. Plus, it's totally understandable why director Will Gluck stuck with the duo, they're fantastic. They're undeniably likeable, have impeccable chemistry with one another and perfect comedic timing. Freedom Jones' script is packed with inventive jokes, but it's D'Agosto and Olsen's delivery that makes the humor particularly effective.
Actually, Fired Up is one of the most quotable films I've seen in a long time. "Chumbawumba. It's the soundtrack of my life man!" "That was for the Crocs. You're not an old lady gardening or a baby on the beach. OK? Now put on some shoes, you're embarrassing yourself." And what about seeing an entire cheer camp watching Bring It On while reciting the dialogue word for word in unison? This brings me to another awesome element of this film; it may be D'Agosto and Olsen's show, but it's packed with top-notch supporting characters.
The best of the bunch is certainly Carly's boyfriend and Shawn's nemesis, Dr. Rick (David Walton). The guy's only in med school, but insists on being called Dr. Rick and is constantly dispensing ridiculous medical terminology. "I hope one of you ends up in my ER one day, bleeding. I'll make you wait for days. Unless one of you has Blue Cross. That's a PPO, none of that HMO bullshit!" Of course it's impossible to make sense of why Carly is so into him, but that holds little bearing upon his role because he makes for the perfect villain. Right behind Rick is Shawn's business savvy, foul-mouthed little sister Poppy (Juliette Goglia). She may not come armed to the tee like Kick-Ass' Hit Girl, but she's got a full arsenal of expletives to unleash upon her enemies.
From there we've got a slew of minor characters like the other members of the cheer squad, a nice handful of which deliver some memorable one-liners, the leader of the Tigers' rival squad the Panthers, Gwyneth (AnnaLynne McCord) and a group of mascots who never speak, they just gesture. Nick and Shawn's roommate Downey is part of a somewhat nauseating gag involving some beads, but a revealing montage turns the gross out gag into a more tactful dose of fun. There's also Brewster, the camp know-it-all who's oozing with team spirit. You'd expect this fast-talking, extremely flamboyant character to get old and annoying fast, but he's delivered in nice small doses allowing his shtick to stay fresh and amusing throughout. Coach Keith (John Michael Higgins), on the other hand, can get a little tiresome especially with his whole "prohibidado" thing, but never so much so that it ruins the moment.
The one part of Fired Up that I will admit is on the weak side is its leading lady, Roemer. Her performance is wooden and her range of facial expressions kept to a minimum. Whereas everyone else puts 110% into their roles, it feels like she'd rather be somewhere else. Lucky for her she's surrounded by a tremendous team of comedians that easily overshadow her blah persona.
Fired Up is a film that requires you to sit down and be prepared to have some fun. If you go into it with the intention of probing through every little detail, yes, you'll find errors, but you'll completely miss out on the enjoyment the entire package has to offer. Every genre has bad films, but certain categories are almost expected to deliver crap time and time again, the teen sex comedy genre being one of them. Any film being thrown into the running with these preconceived notions, is bound to hit some brick walls and moviegoers who just can't bear to let themselves loose and indulge in some outlandish crude fun. Fired Up is a good film, it just never got a chance.