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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Will Gluck
Cast:
Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, Danneel Harris, David Walton, Adhir Kalyan, AnnaLynne McCord
Writing Credits:
Freedom Jones

Tagline:
2 Guys. 300 Girls. You Do the Math.

Synopsis:
In this laugh-out-loud comedy, Ford High's star football players Shawn Colfax and Nick Brady scheme to ditch football camp so they can spend the summer surrounded by beautiful girls at cheer camp. The guys are having the time of their lives as they use their new reputation as "sensitive guys" to talk the hotties into skinny dipping, cheering naked, and hooking up. But when Shawn falls for the gorgeous head cheerleader who's suspicious of their motives, the players must change their game to prove Shawn's intentions before the thrilling cheer competition finals.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$5.483 million on 1810 screens.
Domestic Gross
$17.231 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.40:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 6/9/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Will Gluck and Actors Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen
• “This Is Not a Cheerleading Movie: The Making of Fired Up” Featurette
• “Double Duty” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• “Fired Up Press Junket – Hour 12” Featurette
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Fired Up: Unrated (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 10, 2009)

In the vein of Bring It On, 2009’s Fired Up offers a comedy connected to cheerleading. Sex-obsessed high school football stars Shawn Colfax (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick Brady (Eric Christian Olsen) dread the female-deprived setting of summer football camp.

What to do? They decide to go to cheer camp instead! Though head cheerleader Carly (Sarah Roemer) – the one girl at their school who sees through their womanizing act – resists their pleas, they manage to make it onto the squad anyway. This sends them to a setting with 300 hot young women and only four guys. Despite their animosity – and her pre-med boyfriend Rick (David Walton) - Shawn starts to fall for Carly, while Nick pursues married cheer coach Diora (Molly Sims).

While Bring It On came with plenty of clichés, it worked because of the verve and gusto it brought to the genre. It knew it wasn’t doing anything new, but it had so much fun with the standard stuff that it became lively and engaging.

What does Fired Up bring to the table? A predictable story, lots of lame gags, and two lead actors who graduated from high school many years ago. Sure, plenty of movies include actors well past their teen years, so Fired Up doesn’t stand alone in that category.

However, if you’re going to cast aging performers as high schoolers, you should either make sure they can pass for teens or ensure that the movies entertain us so much that we suspend disbelief. That’s what happened with something like Grease; sure, we never really bought Stockard Channing as a high school senior, but we didn’t mind.

At the time of the film’s production, D’Agosto was 28 and Olsen was 31. In particular, Olsen shows his age; he’s looking so worn that he barely passes for early thirties, much less 17. D’Agosto pulls off his teens better, though I suspect some of that stems from the comparisons; if you put my gray-haired, 42-year-old self next to Ernest Borgnine, I’ll probably look pretty young, too.

As I alluded earlier, I wouldn’t object to the age problems if Fired Up actually entertained. Unfortunately, it rarely musters any enthusiasm from the viewer. It lacks the wit or cleverness to pull off the ironic tone to which it aspires, and it’s also too charmless to succeed when it tries to become more sincere. Not that it works too hard in that latter realm, but when it wants to snare us with character connections, we just don’t care.

A lot of that comes back to the cast. Actually, D’Agosto offers moderate likability as Shawn; he’s not exactly dynamic, but he’s personable enough. Olsen is the one who just can’t do anything to elevate the material. He’s not untalented, but his role needs someone with the easy charisma of a Vince Vaughn. Olsen just comes across like a smarmy meathead; he’s attractive enough that we accept his success with women, but he doesn’t bring much positive to the part.

Not that the script gives the actors much with which they can work. This is a film that delights in chants of “FU” as an abbreviation of “fired up”. The supporting cast offers talents like John Michael Higgins and Philip Baker Hall, but they’re stuck with many of these awful lines. I feel especially sorry for Hall, as his characters gimmick comes from his obsession with the word “shit”. That’s comedy?

Overacted and under-funny, Fired Up adds nothing to the cheerleading film genre. Granted, that’s not exactly a deep field, but Bring It On showed that it can be mined for quality entertainment. Fired Up is just predictable and lame.

Note that this DVD includes an unrated version of Fired Up. Because I never saw the film’s “PG-13” rated theatrical cut, I can’t detail the changes. Don’t expect much juicy footage here. There’s a smidgen of naked male ass and a short shot of a topless girl. I suspect the language is raunchier here than in the “PG-13” edition, but there’s little here to titillate.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Fired Up appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie offered a positive transfer.

Only minor issues affected sharpness. Occasional wide shots a little iffy, but those were infrequent. The majority of the film seemed accurate and concise. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to create any distractions.

As for the film’s palette, it went with natural tones. These consistently looked lively and vivid. Blacks appeared deep and firm, while shadows seemed clear and well-developed. I felt pleased with this consistently fine transfer.

Fired Up provided a pretty low-key “comedy mix” with its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. While usually subdued, it managed to open up acceptably for cheerleading scenes. These offered good breadth and plopped us in the settings pretty well. Otherwise the track stayed restrained, though it managed good stereo imaging for music and a decent sense of atmosphere. Don’t expect anything terrific, but the mix fit the material.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech was concise and natural, with no edginess or other distractions. Music showed nice life and vivacity, while effects were clean and reasonably accurate. Again, there wasn’t much to make the track stand out, but it was fine for its genre.

We get a decent roster of extras here. We start with an audio commentary from director Will Gluck and actors Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, sets and locations, shooting the football and cheering scenes, music and production design, the decision to go for a “PG-13” rating, story/character notes, and a few other tidbits.

Like the film itself, the commentary features an irreverent tone. Heck, it starts with an acknowledgement that Olsen and D’Agosto are awfully old to play high school students, so the participants clearly don’t take themselves too seriously. That’s a good thing, as this attitude keeps things fresh. We get a loose tone and a lot of joking but also learn a fair amount about the production. The mix of laughs and facts allow this to become an enjoyable commentary.

Next we find some featurettes. This Is Not a Cheerleading Movie: The Making of Fired Up runs 15 minutes, 36 seconds and features Gluck, D’Agosto, Olsen, producers Peter Jaysen and Matthew Gross, costume designer Mynka Draper, and actors Sarah Roemer, Margo Harshman, John Michael Higgins, Danneel Harris, Hayley Marie Norman, Molly Sims, Juliette Goglia, and Edie McClurg. They chat about shooting the cheering sequences and some other scene specifics, costumes and locations, and a few other production notes. We get a few decent tidbits here, but the focus remains too fluffy and promotional for the piece to satisfy.

In the six-minute and 30-second Double Duty, we hear from D’Agosto and Olsen. They chat about training for and shooting the cheerleading and football scenes. They throw out some fun thoughts and stories in this engaging program.

Fired Up Press Junket – Hour 12 goes for a mere one minute, 51 seconds. It shows an interview during which D’Agosto and Olsen go off on a reporter who refers to the film as a “cheerleading movie”. It’s staged, of course, but it’s moderately entertaining.

Finally we find a Gag Reel. The eight-minute and five-second clip offers the usual mix of goofs and giggles. Touted as unrated, it earns that status via a flurry of profanity in its opening minute. At least we get to hear the intrusions caused by the peacocks discussed in the commentary, and it’s amusing to watch Olsen’s utter inability to correctly pronounce “especially”.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Armored, The International, Whatever Goes Up and Assassination of a High School President. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for Year One, 2012, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Informers, Waltz with Bashir, Obsessed, The Class, Sugar, The Accidental Husband, Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach, Center Stage: Turn It Up, The House Bunny and Blu-ray Disc. No trailer for Fired Up can be found here.

The ads for Fired Up go out of their way to tell us it’s not a cheerleading movie. Okay, I’ll accept that, so I won’t say it fails as a cheerleading flick; I’ll just say it flops as a comedy and a piece of entertainment. The DVD offers very good picture along with decent audio and extras highlighted by a surprisingly strong commentary. I have no complaints about this disc, but the movie itself is tedious.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main