In Regards to Your Movie, ‘Fired Up!’

Cheerleaders who can't cheer. Or act.

To whom it may concern:

Let me pass over my usual introduction of taking mom’s advice about saying something good in favor of sharing with you, if I may, a quick story. It’s a tale about two people who are driving home one evening, unable to make coherent sentences to one another, and leaving a turn signal on despite going straight for several miles. One person tried to turn the radio in the car up by turning the A/C knob. Another couldn’t quite get the seatbelt strapped even though he was focusing intently on completing that task. This was the scene a few nights ago when my friend Leslie and I caught a press screening of your film. Within two hours, you transformed both of us from intelligent, functioning adults who have zero issues with shoelace tying to blathering idiots who were probably a liability on the road.

Basically, your film actually, literally made us dumber.

I think I’ve got this right: two insanely popular football types do their best Wedding Crashers 2: This Time It’s in High School impressions, hitting upon a scam that lands them in cheerleading camp where hundreds of totally slutty girls with no self-esteem await them for a ton of second-base, PG13 action. Along the way, they learn how to be better cheerleaders. And better people! Is any of this ringing a bell?

I’m just not sure where to start. The pun-a-second dialog? The spur-of-the-moment character shifts? Something else that involves a hyphenated term? Now that I think about it, the perfect place would be to start with the cheerleading itself. As my friend Leslie informs me, from her scarily vast knowledge of the sport, a giant chunk of the cheerleading done in your film is stuff that would be talk to kindergärtners in a beginning class. She turned to me during the Panthers (you’ll remember them as the strutting cliche of a fierce bitch squad) competition performance and said, “Finally, this is good cheerleading.” So maybe your bitch squad had just cause to be complete human trash cans. They were frustrated at having to deal with a lot of inferior squads. Suddenly, they are the most sympathetic of all your characters.

Somehow, actual cheer squads will probably be able to overlook a near-complete lack of any difficult or impressive gymnastics, so don’t worry too much. However, your biggest concern is that your target audience is squirrels and dolphins – too species that are known for their ability to the detect high-pitched, hyper-speed chirps that compose most of your dialog. Your film was the cinematic equivalent of an open mic night hosted by that guy from your office that thinks he’s funny when he diagnoses you with a Case of the Mondays. I’m sure it was fun to sit around and come up with plays on the name ‘Carly’ (i.e. Carly Fries, Carly Davidson, Carly Me a Cab So I Can Leave This Effing Movie), but you don’t have to use all of the ideas. You only need a few. You also don’t need to throw in four versions of each joke into the film. Improv is a tough art, though. Keep at it, and one day you’ll get there.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that you weren’t taking yourselves too seriously, and that’s a good thing. There’s an exclamation point in your title for God’s sake. I’m just not sure that you should have taken not taking your film seriously as seriously as you did. Does that sentence seem convoluted to you? Then it probably belongs in your script.

Meanwhile, your actors didn’t completely destroy my eyes or ears – so congratulations on that. Eric Christian Olsen as Nick Brady was endearing – there’s just no one on the planet that can continue to be interesting by saying the same type of things over and over until he randomly shows a sensitive side no one knew about. We could get bogged down in the long list of logical discords this movie suffers from, but I have word limits. Suffice it to say, you can’t make a major point about there only being four guys at cheer camp and then showcase dozens upon dozens of guys cheerleading at the competition.

All in all, I got a lot of the humor and even laughed a few times. Like when your dentist tells a genuinely funny, reassuring joke right before giving you a root canal. Except he’s drilling that root canal in your anus. An anal root canal. That’s what your movie is like.

Respectfully yours,

Cole Abaius

P.S. – Yes, I realize that “F” stands for Fired Up!. No, that’s not all that funny. Stop snickering.

P.P.S. – Leslie and I have since recovered, so we won’t need to forward you any of the doctor bills. Thanks for asking. That was sweet of you.

Grade: F