Don’t Bring It On
by Betty Jo Tucker
Pay attention, all you cheerleader wannabes. To be successful at cheerleading, you must possess athletic ability, enthusiasm, energy and a strong sense of purpose. Fortunately, you do not have to sit through Fired Up! Sadly, this awful movie about two high school football players who decide to participate in a summer cheerleading camp ranks on a par with Confessions of a Shopaholic as far as lack of genuine humor is concerned. Everything seems forced in both films, which results in annoying scenes instead of amusing ones playing out on screen while viewers decide whether to stay or leave the theater. Being blessedВ withВ a high tolerance for bad movies combined with aВ touch of masochism,В I watched each of these films to the very end.
Proving it’s possible to ruin an excellent movie idea by executing it poorly, Fired Up! bears no resemblance to Bring It On, my favorite filmВ about cheerleaders. Director Will Gluck includes a scene showing cheerleaders watching the earlier feature and reciting the dialogue right along with the cast. What a mistake! That simply serves as a reminder about the much higher quality of Bring It On. In Fired Up!, most dialogue gets shouted rather than spoken like conversations among real people. The biggest offender in this regard is Eric Christian Olsen, who plays Nick, the captain of the football team and one of the guys who goes to cheerleading camp. Because Olsen delivered such a fine performance in TV’s Brothers & Sisters, I was quite surprised by his exaggerated work here. When Olsen isn’t trying to imitate Jim Carrey, he definitely makes a better impression.
Olsen’s co-star, Nicolas D’Agosto, appears a bit more subdued. He portrays Eric’s best friend Shaun, who falls in love with Carly (Sarah Roemer), the head cheerleader at Gerald Ford High School. It’s Shaun’s feelings for Sarah that lead to a change in plans for the two cheerleading camp interlopers. Originally, their goal involved hooking up with a variety of gorgeous girls. Helping their team win the annual competition failed to interest them at all. Will they overcome their self-serving behavior and be able to save the day? (Unfortunately, by the end of this misguided teen movie, it’s hard to care one way or the other — but no doubtВ some members of its young target audience will still be hoping for a happy ending.)
Roemer (Disturbia) stands out in Fired Up! She’s the only cast member who comes across as a real human being. Exploited completely are two wonderful veteran actors, John Michael Higgins (The Break Up) and Philip Baker Hall (The Insider) as the cheerleading camp director and football coach, respectively.В Both Higgins and Hall seem pressured to overplay their roles, and it saddens me to see them misused in this way.
Fired Up! should have been hosed down.
(Released by Screen Gems and rated “PG-13” for crude and sexual content throughout, partial nudity, language and some teen partying.)