Fired Up plays like a direct-to-video American Pie sequel, replete with John Michael Higgins taking Eugene Levy’s place as the de facto Christopher Guest player relied upon to provide genuine comedic inspiration amid the gaggle of boob and beer jokes. It’s not, alas, a successfully implemented strategy, as Higgins’s one showcase sequence as a gung-ho cheerleading camp boss—a manic public-speaking routine in which he does “spirit fingers” and repeatedly screams the title’s acronym “F.U.!”—mistakes, like much of the surrounding film, hyperactivity for actual humor. High school football studs Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) have a passion for women almost as pronounced as their (and everyone else’s) habit of using creative turns of phrase for sexual and/or bathroom terms. They want to “wrangle snootch” (a.k.a. get some “produce”) for their “nutter butters” (a.k.a. their “biscuits”), which always become aroused when heaving bosoms (“Rackety rack, don’t talk back!”) enter their sightline. To achieve these horny ends, they join their school’s crummy cheerleading squad on a three-week camp retreat, a veritable tramp-stamp heaven where Nick can score with corny come-ons and Shawn can woo the squad’s captain (Sarah Roemer), who has a scumbag boyfriend prone to singing Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” (“The soundtrack to my life!”). There’s something very slightly amusing about Fired Up‘s enthusiasm for anything-goes stupidity—such as the sight of a fat guy with a face drawn on his stomach stuffing a Twinkie into his belly button—but the hit-to-miss ratio is so low that the film’s Red Bull energy soon feels assaultive. As befitting such a frat-guy endeavor, gay panic is rampant, to the point that it’s stunning when no homo-related one-liners accompany a scene in which jocks playfully throw meat at each other. Just as surprising, however, is director Will Gluck’s straight-faced attempt to turn a John Lennon quote (“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”) into the story’s de facto motto, especially when it’s Nick’s refrain “Don’t poop where you eat” that most closely gets at the quality of this turd sandwich.
- Screen Gems
- 90 min
- Will Gluck
- Freedom Jones
- Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, David Walton, Philip Baker Hall, John Michael Higgins
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