Fired Up!

Renee Scolaro Mora

Fired Up! is the worst of its kind: a cheap imitation of much better films, a 90-minute dirty joke with no punch line.

Fired Up!

Director: Will Gluck
Cast: Nicholas D’Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, Annalynne McCord, Philip Baker Hall, John Michael Higgins
MPAA rating: PG-13
Studio: Sony Pictures
First date: 2009
UK Release Date: 2009-05-22 (General release)
US Release Date: 2009-02-20 (General release)

Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) and Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) are star players, football and otherwise, at Gerald R. Ford High School. At the start of Fired Up!, they reveal as well their inability to differences between games and "life." Just so, Nick quarterbacks their escape from a father angry over his daughter's lost virtue, leading the boys through a series of routes, eventually landing them in a pool with two bikinied beauties: Game on! all over again.

Dreading the reported rigors and girl-lessness of summer football camp, Nick and Shawn have the brilliant idea to attend cheer camp instead. They are athletes, after all, so they should be able to handle cheering, right? Their plan is painfully simple: “We hook up like crazy for two and half weeks, then bail.” Or, put more poetically, “Hit it and quit it.” Ah, the eloquence…

Even though beautiful squad captain Carley (Sarah Roemer) initially resists, seeing through their scheme, it turns out that cheer squad at their school is terrible, finishing last every year, so the guys can actually be of some use. Nick and Shawn attack their goal with gusto. They are two of only four straight guys at camp, so it takes them no time at all to work their way through “the hot chick produce aisle.” The girls appear just as willing and eager to "hook up" as the guys, save for Carley, of course, and married head coach Diora (Molly Sims). Nick immediately zones in on the unattainable Diora, whom he sees as an easy target since she’s 30 and therefore “ancient.” Her rejection of him only fuels his desire -- which is not to say that he slows his progress through the rest of the cheer campers.

Predictably, Shawn falls for Carley and so begins to take cheering more seriously, building up the team’s morale and insisting that her pre-med boyfriend, Rick (David Walton), is no good for her. That his own behavior is at least as bad as Rick’s is all but lost on Shawn, since he's not cheating on Carley. When Nick announces he’s “had enough girl” and it’s time to head home, Shawn is torn, not only because he now realizes his feelings for Carley but also because he doesn’t want to abandon the team in their hour of need. It’s a wearying and unimaginative crossroads moment. Nick never bothers saying, “Bro’s before ho’s,” but we get it and there is no doubt how it will all end up.

If Fired Up! is attempting to be progressive by portraying most of the girls as nearly as sexually aggressive as Nick and Shawn (and that’s a big “if”), it’s not even making a pretense in its treatment of all things gay. From the closeted Coach Keith (John Michael Higgins) to the sometimes ambiguous Brewster (Adhir Kaylan) and the predatory token lesbian Sylvia (Margo Harshman), stereotypes abound. Carley suggests early on that Nick’s hyper-hetero persona is an effort to repress his own homosexuality, to which he laughingly responds, "I'm too straight to be gay.” It turns out Nick does repress being cruised by fellow cheerleader Downey (Jake Sandvig), taking all his interactions with Downey as straight, good buddy behavior. We see all Downey’s unmistakable advances with Nick as flashbacks and though his denial lends what’s meant to be hilarious credence to the whole repression/denial thing, Nick’s puking in response to the flood of memories surely makes his sexual identity clear.

This aside aside, Nick and Shawn must endure epiphanies. If Shawn's involves true love for Carley, Nick's is summed up in a declaration of his true feelings for Diora ("I’m a human!”) It’s all so trite and irritating, grounded as it is in endless unfunny penis jokes. When Shawn sees the error of his ways, telling Nick the whoring “feels wrong,” it’s as if this thought has never occurred to him before now.

Nick’s sage response, “It’s supposed to feel wrong,” may also serve as advice on how we are to take this film. Maybe it’s meant to be the anti-High School Musical, or a parody of teen-boy fantasy. Its one comic moment comes when the entire cheer camp watches Bring it On and recites it line by line in unison. But it lacks that film's wit and any sort of point, as might be found in, say, Knocked Up (speaking of penis jokes). Fired Up! is the worst of its kind: a cheap imitation of much better films, a 90-minute dirty joke with no punch line.





By the Book

Jack Halberstam's 'Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire' (excerpt)

Enjoy this excerpt of Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire, wherein Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the 20th century.

Jack Halberstam

Sotto Voce's 'Your Husband, the Governor' Is Beautifully Twisted DIY Indie Folk-rock

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Gabos releases another odd, gorgeous home studio recording under the moniker Sotto Voce.


Numün's 'voyage au soleil' Is a Trippy, Ambient Ride and Ambitious Debut

Eclectic instrumental trio numün combine a wealth of influences to create a vibe that's both spacey and earthy on voyage au soleil.


L7's 'Smell the Magic' Is 30 and Packs a Feminist Punch

Abortion is under threat again, and there's a sex offender in the Oval Office. A fitting time, in short, to crank up the righteously angry vocals of feminist hard rock heavy hitters like L7.


Can Queer Studies Rescue American Universities?

Matt Brim's Poor Queer Studies underscores the impact of poorer disciplines and institutions, which often do more to translate and apply transformative intellectual ideas in the world than do their ivory-tower counterparts.


Jim White Offers a "Smart Ass Reply" (premiere)

Jesus and Alice Cooper are tighter than you think, but a young Jim White was taught to treat them as polar opposites. Then an eight-track saved his soul and maybe his life.


Ed Harcourt Paints From 'Monochrome to Colour'

British musician Ed Harcourt's instrumental music is full of turbulent swells and swirls that somehow maintain a dignified beauty on Monochrome to Colour.


West London's WheelUP Merges Broken Beat and Hip-Hop on "Stay For Long" (premiere)

West London producer WheelUP reached across the pond to Brint Story to bring some rapid-fire American hip-hop to his broken beat revival on "Stay For Long".


PM Picks Playlist 4: Stellie, The Brooks, Maude La​tour

Today's playlist features the premiere of Stellie's "Colours", some top-class funk from the Brooks, Berne's eco-conscious electropop, clever indie-pop from Maude Latour, Jaguar Jonze rocking the mic, and Meresha's "alien pop".


Plattetopia: The Prefabrication of Utopia in East Berlin

With the fall of the Berlin Wall came the licence to take a wrecking ball to its nightmare of repression. But there began the unwritten violence of Die Wende, the peaceful revolution that hides the Oedipal violence of one order killing another.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Electrosoul's Flõstate Find "Home Ground" on Stunning Song (premiere)

Flõstate are an electrosoul duo comprised of producer MKSTN and singer-songwriter Avery Florence that create a mesmerizing downtempo number with "Home Ground".


Orchestra Baobab Celebrate 50 Years with Vinyl of '​Specialist in All Styles'

As Orchestra Baobab turn 50, their comeback album Specialist in All Styles gets a vinyl reissue.


Hot Chip Stay Up for 'Late Night Tales'

Hot Chip's contribution to the perennial compilation project Late Night Tales is a mixed bag, but its high points are consistent with the band's excellence.


The Budos Band Call for Action on "The Wrangler" (premiere)

The Budos Band call on their fans for action with the powerful new track "The Wrangler" that falls somewhere between '60s spy thriller soundtrack and '70s Ethiojazz.


Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" Ruminates on Our Second-Guesses (premiere)

A deep reflection on breaking up, Nashville indie rock/Americana outfit Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" is the most personal track from their new album, Home Team.


For Don DeLillo, 'The Silence' Is Deafening

In Don DeLillo's latest novel, The Silence, it is much like our post-pandemic life -- everything changed but nothing happened. Are we listening?


Brett Newski Plays Slacker Prankster on "What Are You Smoking?" (premiere)

Is social distancing something we've been doing, unwittingly, all along? Brett Newski pulls some pranks, raises some questions in "What Are You Smoking?".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.