March 18, 2009
Review in a Hurry: This TV-grade cheerleader comedy acknowledges the substantial debt it owes to Bring It On, and you can save a lot of time and money by renting that instead.
The Bigger Picture: When Fox recently canceled its scheduled remake of Revenge of the Nerds, it made sense from the perspective of quality-it's hard to top the original-but also from the standpoint of contemporary movie marketing: You never see real nerds as triumphant in movies any more.
Case in point: Fired Up!, which expects you to root for two high school hunks (played by 31-year-old Eric Christian Olsen and 28-year-old Nicholas D'Agosto) who claim to have had sex with every girl in their school, so they go to cheerleader camp in search of 300 brand-new potential conquests. These are underdogs?
The central joke, of course, is that they accidentally end up becoming more sensitive than even they expect. Somewhat impressively, this is achieved with a minimum of gay jokes.
Olsen is nicely deadpan, but save for a handful of S-words, there's nothing here you couldn't see on TV, and thus it wouldn't hurt to wait for that format if you have even the slightest bit of interest.
What little plot there is here is predictable and unconvincing, and when the movie, as part of its own storyline, reverently bows to Bring It On as a gold standard, well, nothing against that flick, but it already spawned a couple of direct-to-DVD spinoffs and doesn't need a rip-off in addition.
It's not that Fired Up! is in any way offensive (unless the abbreviation of its title into initials somehow bothers you); it's innocuous and may even generate a laugh or two. It just isn't worth paying for. Even if cheerleaders are your thing, you can see more scantily clad participants on network TV.
The 180-a Second Opinion: As the obnoxious boyfriend of D'Agosto's objet d'amour, David Walton is a scene-stealer in his role of Dr. Rick, a pre-med student with a jones for cheesy '90s pop hits and a penchant for inventing stupid nicknames. Too bad he's more appealing than the movie's heroes. Somebody put this guy in a lead role, stat!