The first in a series of films co-produced by Maxim magazine (the film was originally called "Maxim's Fired Up"), "Fired Up" feels a little like "Bring It On" (the characters in this movie actually watch "Bring It On" and recite the dialogue) re-imagined by the editors of the magazine (or if one of the direct-to-video "Bring it On" sequels was mashed-up with a direct-to-video "American Pie" sequel.) Lets get the facts out of the way first: the film is a sloppy, lowbrow and formulaic mess. What makes it watchable? The fact that the picture clearly seems to know (and possibly even enjoy the fact) that it's nothing more than a sloppy, lowbrow and formulaic mess.
The picture focuses on Shawn Colfax (Nicholas D'Agosto) and Nick Brady (Eric Christian Olsen), two high school kids (this, despite the fact that both actors are around 30 years old) who want nothing more than to get with as many girls as they can. As the Summer begins, they are looking forward to football camp, which is largely an excuse for some fun in the sun. Instead, they're horrified when they realize the camp destination has been changed and rather than near the beach, it's in the midst of the desert.
Quickly coming up with a plan, the two decide to con their way into the local cheerleader camp. Their scheme - be the only two guys at camp, and hook up with as many girls as they can, then escape into the night. While the screenplay from first-time writer Freedom Jones (if that sounds like a fake name - no offense to any actual Freedom Joneses out there - it is; the four writers on the movie all chose to be credited under one fake name) is a blend of predictable parts and pieces, at least director Will Gluck (the deeply underrated Fox sitcom, "The Loop", which also starred Olsen) manages to have a solid enough sense of comedic timing to make some of the weaker bits work better than they do on paper (after they arrive at camp, the two debate whether their bus crashed and they're in heaven, then Olsen's character responds: "No, we would've heard, "We are crashing, we we are crashing.")
Olsen, while not on the level of Seann William Scott's performance in "American Pie", does at least bring a dry sarcasm to the material that's enjoyable. Gluck also manages to get Phillip Baker Hall (also from "The Loop") in a ridiculous performance (as the loudmouth football coach) that I hope at least managed the great actor a decent paycheck.
While the movie manages some genuinely funny moments here-and-there amidst all the crude gags, there's not much of an actual plot - a large portion of the first half of the movie actually goes by without all that plot (even for a movie like this) actually occurring. The two get to camp with the intention of fooling around and running off, but then Shawn falls for the previously chilly cheer captain (Sarah Roemer), but then she's actually seeing an irritating college guy who is. Her boyfriend tells the girls that the guys aren't intending to stay for the big cheer championships, and how things proceed from there will be pretty obvious to...well, anyone.
Still, while "Fired Up" isn't what I'd call a good movie, I can't deny that the movie manages to randomly get it together for several somewhat brief moments that are genuinely funny. Hopefully, Gluck's next project will show the potential that his work on "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" and "The Loop" indicated.
The Blu-Ray includes both the rated and unrated version. There is an "unrated footage marker" option that brings up an icon during scenes with new footage. While not vastly different, the theatrical release is a PG-13, but the "unrated" version would be a light "R" or hard PG-13.
VIDEO: "Fired Up" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC). This is a standard stuff; a perfectly satisfactory high-def presentation of a perfectly basic looking flick. Sharpness and detail are above-average, as while there are some hints of softness on occasion, the picture at least appeared crisp and well-defined throughout much of the running time.
Aside from a couple of minor traces of edge enhancement, the presentation remained smooth and clean, with no print flaws, noise or other additional issues. Colors looked bold and bright, appearing well-saturated throughout.
SOUND: The film's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is purely a comedy mix, with the surrounds doing minimal work throughout the picture, only kicking in on a few occasions to provide some minor ambience or slight reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was fine, with clear, well-recorded dialogue and bassy music.
EXTRAS: actors Nicholas D'Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen join director Will Gluck for a commentary for the movie. Although there are a few amusing moments and decent insights throughout the commentary (the group mention that the film's only award was for location scouting), the track is otherwise a good deal of small talk ("Oh, this was filmed on the second to last day of filming?"), a few decent behind-the-scenes stories and a few chuckles.
"This Is Not a Cheerleading Movie" is a 15-minute "making of" documentary that goes over a lot of the same material (casting, story, behind-the-scenes tales) as the commentary. "Double Duty" is a shorter piece that goes over the rehearsals that the leads he to do for the cheerleading and football sequences. Finally, we get an unfunny gag interview, a lengthy uncensored gag reel and trailers for other titles from the studio.
A digital copy of the film (for PCs, MACs and Portable Devices) is included on a separate disc.
Final Thoughts: "Fired Up" manages to get itself together to deliver several genuinely funny moments, and the performances aren't too bad. This isn't a particularly good movie, but it's more watchable than I'd expected. The Blu-Ray offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a handful of decent extras. A rental for those interested.
The Film C