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Review: ‘Fired Up’ is a Comedy Dead Zone

Fired Up! Isn't Funny

Fired Up is one long, tired gay joke stretched out to feature length and amplified by the presence of multitudes of gorgeous models pretending to be cheerleaders. Lest one be confused by the fact that the film is part of a three picture deal Screen Gems signed with Maxim Magazine I should be clear: the two football jocks at the center of the film couldn’t be more in love with each other had the story been transplanted to Brokeback Mountain.

Once you get that, and it shouldn’t take anyone with a brain more than about five minutes to do so, it becomes depressingly, mind-numbingly clear that the rest of the movie is just a giant comedy dead zone. Nominally directed by Will Gluck and scripted by someone named Freedom Jones the film plunges to such depths of inanity that it inspires a sort of stunned stupor. It’s often an excruciating experience, entirely reliant on obvious stereotypes and unfunny verbalizing for its humor.

Starring Eric Christian Olsen, who wasn’t funny when he poorly imitated Jim Carrey in the Dumb and Dumber sequel and still isn’t, the film follows Nick (Olsen) and Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) as they skip out on summer football practice to join the cheerleaders at cheer camp. Once arrived, they begin work on their primary goal: to do as many PG-13 things possible with the scores of beautiful women populating the place. Things grow, uh, complicated when Shawn decides he wants to do more than just ogle Carly (Sarah Roemer), the head of their squad and the one woman in the entire picture given something resembling a brain.

The film adheres to a simple formula: lovingly linger on the legs, hips and chests of the cheerleaders as they walk by or practice their routines, throw in a make out montage or two and interject some comic bantering centered on the fact that Nick and Shawn are definitely, definitely not gay. It’s all simple, least common denominator stuff with a cast of characters too moronic to inspire any empathy. Fired Up does have one revealing satiric conceit: the campers, enraptured by the spell cast by Bring It On, recite every word as the film’s shown on an outdoor screen. If a movie Roger Ebert called “a strange mutant beast” upon its release in 2000 is now being held as a golden cinematic standard we’re all in a lot of trouble.

Grade: D

Robert Levin has written dozens (if not hundreds) of reviews for Film School Rejects since his first piece in 2009. He is the film critic for amNewYork, one of the most widely circulated daily newspapers in New York City and the United States, and the paper's website amNY.com. He's a Brooklyn resident who tries very hard not to be a cliche.

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