Rude and crude teenage sex comedies have always been popular, going all the way back to the days of Animal House and Porky’s. Cheerleading comedies don’t go that far back, but you can credit 1999’s Bring It On for starting that trend. But if you are going to do a rude and crude sex comedy, you really have to go all out. Especially these days, where Judd Apatow has uped the ante for these kinds of films. Fired Up attempts to be a combination of both. The PG-13 rating should give you a clue as to how it all works out.
In Fired Up, Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) are the best football players for the Gerald Ford High School Tigers varsity team in Illinois. They also pride themselves on sleeping their way through the entire female school population. Nick can’t even remember the names of the girls he encounters in the hallways. Neither Nick nor Shawn particularly wants to attend football camp in Texas. But when they hear the cheerleading captain, Carly (Sarah Roemer) discussing the upcoming cheerleading camp, they realize their summer could be very hot indeed. They plan to become cheerleaders so that they can attend the camp and tend to the 300 or so girls in competition.
The most intestesting part of Fired Up is its use of dialogue. It’s target audience is teenagers, so they want teenagers to be able to get into this film without their parents. So that means that it has to stay PG-13. As a result, Fired Up uses lots of
euphemisms and innuendos that replaces R-rated language. This does start to get old, but it’s still fun to see how they get dance around a R-rating for dialogue. The story of the film is predictable and nothing new, though. From beginning to sentimental end, you know how Fired Up will advance from scene to scene.
What really saves this film from being totally unwatchable is the leading stars. Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen have great chemistry and comic timing with each other. These two up-and-coming actors aren’t that young, 28 and 31 respectively, but they have bright futures ahead of them as they become the next generation of “Frat Pack” actors. They actually make us forget how unlikable these two characters are. Other actors that steal many scenes are Juliette Goglia, who plays Shawn’s no-nonsense younger sister who is smarter than everyone else in the film, and the overreactive cheer coach played by John Michael Higgins.
The laughs are not non-stop in Fired Up. If they would have gone all out and really let loose with a R-rating, Fired Up would have been a lot funnier. Not that raunch is the only way to make a comedy great, but for a film like Fired Up, it is the only way to go. Still the ways they get around from making this film an R-rating are amusing, but that shtick tends to get old in the end. There are many funny moments in Fired Up, though, and it’s fun watching D’Agosto and Olsen interact with each other. But as far as cheerleading and rude and crude sex comedies go, this one is average, but nowhere near the worst out there. All of that said, Fired Up will still certainly entertain high school and college aged males and females everywhere.
The video included is available in widescreen color presented at the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The quality is pretty good with some slight graininess noticible in some scenes. No major problems, though, and about on par with other new DVD releases.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either. Again, just what you expect from a film like this.
There is a full-length audio commentary with the two stars of the film, Eric Christian Olsen and Nick D’Agosto, as well as director, Will Gluck. There is a good mixture of entertainment and insight provided here. The fact that these three don’t take this film or themselves seriously only helps things. So this is definitely worth checking out. I even almost dare to say that it’s required viewing.
“This Is Not a Cheerleading Movie” Featurette –
This runs 14 minutes and it’s your standard “making-of” featurette. However, this one is actually worth checking out to find out the problems that come from two guys who each have to kiss 30 girls throughout the course of the making this film. That would be making everyone sick. Director, Will Gluck walks us through the kissing footage and how the bug was spread. That’s definitely unique and worth checking this out for a few minutes.
“Double Duty” Featurette –
This runs 6 minutes and it features Olsen and D’Agosto telling how they were sold on the film as being mostly a football movie with a little cheerleading thrown in. There is footage of them learning how to play football and cheering in two separate, extensive training camps.
Gag Reel –
This is 8 minutes worth of the usual bloopers and mistakes from filming. There is plenty of profanity, peacock calls, alternate takes, etc. in here. Most of it is actually funny and worth checking out.
Press Junket: Hour 12 –
This is a two minute fake interview with Olsen and D’Agosto pretending to get angry with a Canadian journalist for calling the film a “cheerleading movie”. This is really not that funny, and definitely not worth checking out.
If don’t expect much from Fired Up, you will be pleasantly surprised. Not the greatest cheerleading or teenage sex comedy ever, but nowhere near the worst out there. It’s somewhat clever wordplay and more than capable lead stars make this film watchable. Those under the age of 21 will certainly love it, but Fired Up can be an entertaining film for anyone who likes dumb comedies similar to this one. So it’s at least worth a rental for all the audiences I previously mentioned. Although, it is disappointed that the “unrated” moniker on the DVD cover for this film only means a couple of R-rated lines and a few brief moments of nudity.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents Fired Up. Directed by Will Gluck. Starring Nicholas D’Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, Dannell Harris CQ, David Walton, Adhir Kalyan, Philip Baker Hall, John Michael Higgins and Annalynne McCord. Written by Freedom Jones. Running time: 90 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: June 16, 2009.
Available at Amazon.com