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FIRED UP!: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Shawn (Nicholas D'Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) are top scorers on the Ford High School football team - on and off the filed. When they overhear the girls planning a cheerleader camp, they decide to join up, attracted by being in the midst of 300 hotties. Their lark turns into competitive stuff when the squad they've joined has another crack at success in the championship, and Shawn falls for squad leader Carly (Sarah Roemer) - whose suspicions and egotistical boyfriend 'Dr' Rick (David Walton) stand in the way.

Review by Louise Keller:
A harmless teen comedy with more enthusiasm than cinematic merit, Fired Up! combines silliness, low-brow humour, romance and cheerleading acrobatics in its formulaic and predictable arsenal. Cheerleading is so specific to the American culture, that for us, it is almost a curiosity to watch two skirt-chasing lotharios jump onboard the bus to Cheer Camp, where 300 'hotties' await conquest. Their motto to leave no girl left unturned might be their driving force, but like cheerleading, things go up and down with bumps in between. Firing up precisely what it promises, the film might be limited in its appeal, but it's energetic with a few laughs as it dishes out silly fun for its young target market.

First up, we meet Nicholas D'Agosto's Shawn Colfax and Eric Christian Olsen's Nick Brady. They're a hapless duo whose decision to trade football camp for Cheer Camp is totally self serving. D'Agosto, with his mop of black tousled hair has appeal as the more sensitive of the two, while Colfax's Nick is totally shallow and overbearing ('We're athletes, we can do anything'). The film tracks their experiences at Camp, when Shawn falls for Cheerleader Captain Carly (Sarah Roemer), whose creepy intern medico boyfriend (David Walton) is a sleazy caricature. There's a scene involving a naked Shawn and Nick positioning their pom poms in strategic places and although the humour is low-key, there is little to offend.

Perhaps the funniest scenes are ones that promote chuckles rather than laughs. Like the scene in the bus when the girls all chant together phrases like 'We are driving' as if it were a routine, and there's something nonsensical when the entire camp watches the movie Bring It On as if it were their mantra, mouthing the dialogue word perfect. Of course it's all pretty corny ('You gotta risk it to get the biscuit'), but the film is honest in what it delivers, so if cheerleading is your thing or you want a brain chill, here it is.

DVD special features include behind the scenes, features, gag reel and press junket.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Whether historically accurate or not doesn't matter, but the notion of male cheerleaders is probably the trigger concept for this college comedy set in the confines of one of America's oddest cultural artefacts. Cheerleading is not only an accompaniment to sporting events, but a competitive activity in its own right. Well, don't laugh, the world also has competitive dwarf throwing, so what would we know.

Written by Freedom Jones, described as a "group of spoken word poets who workshopped their one woman show into Fired Up," who'd "like to thank the green wizard lizard for their inspiration." Debuting director Will Gluck certainly grabs that green lizard by the throat ...

In this story of lusting young college men joining a cheerleader squad of young women for the purpose of leering and quickie relationship-free sex, the purported story focus is on the underdog team trying to win the championship. It's so formulaic and narrow in its audience appeal that you can make a case for the film to be a really subversive piece of work, satirising cheerleaders and their vacuous sport-like activity. If you approach it as such, the film gains much needed traction. Otherwise, it's just a one note routine - and I'm baffled as to its target market. Most of the characters, both male and female, are unappealing in many ways; many of the girls are air heads with so little nous as to be embarrassing. Most of the young males are either obnoxious, self obsessed caricatures, sexual predators without teeth, or nerds. And equally embarrassing.

Perhaps it's a date movie; you don't need to pay constant attention to the screen, but there is enough bare flesh and kissing and suggestive talk to make young couples think they are in an erotic environment.

Anyway, full marks to Sony for presenting the film to critics with a pre-screening drink to get us all fired up, putting their confidence behind the film. (Just like the underdog team fires up on higher confidence...) And while it's not a film critics will rave about, it does what it sets out to do, providing undemanding escapist entertainment for the 18 - 24 market.

Published September 24, 2009

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

FIRED UP!: DVD (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, Daneel Harris, Adhir Kalyan, Annalyne McCord, Philip Baker Hall, John Michael Higgins

PRODUCER: Matthew Gross, Peter Jaysen, Charles Weinstock

DIRECTOR: Will Gluck

SCRIPT: Freedom Jones

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thomas Ackerman

EDITOR: Tracey Wadmore-Smith

MUSIC: Richard Gibbs

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcia Hinds

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 23, 2009

PRESENTATION: 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: This is Not a Cheerleading Movie:[BREAK]The Making of Fired Up![BREAK]• Double Duty[BREAK]• Gag Reel - Uncensored Version[BREAK]• Fired Up! Press Junket - Hour 12

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 23, 2009







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