Fired Up! (PG-13)
Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown
I've always suspected that films like Fired Up! must be based on the adolescent wet dreams of 40-something Hollywood nerds who suddenly find themselves in positions powerful enough to bring their juvenile reveries, at last, to some sort of satisfying climax.
Satisfying to them, at least, one imagines. So I'm not surprised that Matthew Gross, producer of this disagreeable cinematic emission, admits the movie is based upon his own experience when he and his best friend joined the yell squad in high school in order to meet girls at cheerleading camp.
The two pals here, the Dark-Haired One (Nicholas D'Agosto) and the Blond One (Eric Christian Olsen), are absurd even when grading on the idiot-comedy curve. They hate football, but they're the stars of their high school team. A day after they decide to join the cheerleading squad in order to hook up, they're pulling moves so difficult that even the cheer coach is in love with them. They're ridiculously perfect, and perfectly ridiculous. But not in any amusing way ... except, perhaps, to those who haven't recovered from their lack of coolness in high school.
Oh, and their success with the high school ladies is preposterous. It helps that the girls are all clearly too stupid to notice that the Blond One can never remember their names and is being fed cues by the Dark-Haired One. But the girls must be morons, because it's the only explanation for how the boys can succeed in publicly reducing them all to pieces of meat.
In a better movie, this might have been a goodbye to uptight moralities and a salute to casual but healthy sex. Here, though, the women are dupes of the men they're like the "bottomless breadsticks at Olive Garden"; women who "respect themselves too much" only bring "drama" to a hookup. What could have been something earthy and bouncy and sexy is instead unpleasant, like someone else's sweaty bedsheets. (The script comes via Freedom Jones, whose prose should be as mellifluous as his name. TV vet Will Gluck makes an inauspicious directorial debut.)
I say "women" because all these actors look more like 27 than 17. Which only adds to the absurdity, and demonstrates further that this is not about any genuine experience of adolescence, but merely constitutes the peak of a teenage masturbatory fantasy you'd have thought would have been abandoned long ago. It even manages to weave in some whining over the "nice guy" issue. You've all heard it: "Why do girls like jerks instead of nice guys like me?"
For when they finally arrive at cheer camp, the Dark-Haired One decides he really does like like, for real and all the head cheerleader (Sarah Roemer), but she's got a jerk boyfriend (David Walton, who appears to be 40, and is playing a college freshman). The Jerk Boyfriend is barely distinguishable from our doofus "heroes": they all lie and cheat to get what they want from women, and they care not a whit about them. Jerk Boyfriend is simply less smooth about it.
Our "heroes" don't see that they're just like Jerk Boyfriend, of course "nice guys" never do. And the movie doesn't see it, either. I'd say this makes Fired Up! worth a look for its psychological value, except it really isn't. It's about as entertaining as a joke about venereal disease ... which you'll find here, too, of course.
So proud of you Catherine!!! I knew you could do it!!!
I read an early draft of Ghostland in 2014 that was written by Jon Orr…