Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fired Up! (**1/2)

Fired Up!  92 mins.  PG-13.  Directed by Will Gluck.  Written by Freedom Jones.  Starring Eric Christian Olson, Nicholas D'Agosto, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, and John Michael Higgins.

Fired Up! is a brainless teen comedy about two horny, borderline obnoxious football players who ditch summer football training to go to cheerleading camp and score with a bunch of ladies.  As played by Dumb and Dumberer's Eric Christian Olson and Heroes' Nicholas D'Agosto, the two guys are clearly modeled after the snappy dynamic of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers.  The only problem is they're nowhere near as charming or effortless in getting laughs out of the audience.  Fired Up! could be a pretty decent movie in the hands of much smarter filmmakers - I'd love to have seen what Diablo Cody or Tina Fey could do with this material, if only to beef up the female roles and make a movie that's both funny and somewhat substantial.  The inevitable romantic fall-out that occurs between D'Agosto's character and Amy Smart 2.0 (Sarah Roemer) is lame even by dumb comedy standards: the guys have tickets to leave cheerleading camp on the eve of the big competition, but they decide to stay and not ditch their fellow cheerleaders, and yet, Roemer still gets all upset that they even had the tickets to leave in the first place.  Give me a break.  The one trick up this movie's sleeve is the veteran character actor, and frequent Christopher Guest collaborator, John Michael Higgins.  He plays the head of the cheerleading camp, and his character's enthusiasm and questionable sexuality earn most of the movie's big laughs.  Fired Up! is destined for a never-ending run on TBS saturday afternoons, and if that's how you catch it, you might be pleasantly entertained.

- John


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