Movie review: Fired Up! (2009)

We’ve gotten far enough into the summer TV season that our DVR is persistently empty and we’ve used up most of the VOD choices available to us. This leaves us with having to wander the movie channels more emphatically than we do in the winter months.

Tonight’s discovery was Fired Up!, a typical summer guy flick from last summer that Encore was airing. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it at least exceeded expectations enough to be worthy of a review.

The premise is a bit thin and obvious: Two football jocks decide to skip football camp, instead heading to cheerleader camp on the presumption (which bears out) that the female-to-male ratio will be extraordinarily high, thus making it easy for them to score. The timebomb in the premise is that they’ll only attend the first two weeks of the three week camp because there’s some big party back home that they have to be at, and at any rate the gender imbalance will mean they’ve gotten plenty of sex in those two weeks.

There’s very little in the actual plot of the story that’s original or not predictable. It turns out not to be as easy to get laid as they thought. The two other male cheerleaders they’re bunking with are both gay. There’s an older woman that one of them falls for, who happens to be the wife of the camp leader. The other jock falls for a cheerleader on his own squad and decides he wants to stay for the third week; the target of his affection is dating a lunkhead college student who doesn’t care about her. The med student unveils the plan for the jocks to leave, leading to the obvious “you’ve betrayed me!” speech by the cheerleader. Everything turns out wonderfully in the end.

In addition, the side characters are formulaic: One of the jocks has a spunky younger sister, wise and vulgar beyond her years; one of the female cheerleaders is gay and poorly closeted; the head of the camp is a passive-aggressive ball of rage; the football coach is a foul-mouthed meathead. And on and on.

However, especially in contrast to other films following this formula, the movie does an excellent job of taking the basic ingredients and making a decent ragout out of them. It sometimes treads close the line of being being a parody of its genre (getting closest with the communal quoting of Bring It On and the over-the-top hand gestures of the Panthers), but usually stays true to its recipe.

What it lacks in originality it makes up for in effort and spirit, much like the cheerleaders it features. My favorite character was the aforementioned spunky younger sister, Poppy, played with appropriate cute curtness by Juliette Goglia. A decent enough way to waste an hour and a half.

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