Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby, Who Turned The Temperature Hotter?

Fired Up! (Gluck, 2009)

Let's get this out of the way right here, right now. I have a soft spot for coming of age films, I have a soft spot for high school films, I am a 20 year old male and I am naturally inclined to like grotesque jokes about sexuality because I'm an immature prick. There, we have it. Mercy street! Despite all of those affections, even I have a hard time calling Will Gluck's Fired Up! anything resembling a solid comedy. Covering territory that other 'should have been rated R' teen comedies such as Accepted have tread upon before, the film is a hodge-podge of solid ideas that are kept in check by a studio's desire to market to as large an audience as possible.

Anchored by Nicholas D'Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen playing two high school super stud football players, Shawn and Nick, we watch them sign up for cheer leading camp in an attempt to hook up with as many girls as possible in two weeks. We have seen this story before, and before that, and probably even before that. Thankfully at least half the time D'Agosto and Olsen actually do the comedy thing really well, especially individually, and when there is noticeable chemistry between the two the film gets fairly funny quicker than it takes the blood to rush to these oversexed teenagers' sperm poles. Wow, a lot of phallic references in this post.

The supporting cast here is really interesting as well, and they all play to the material they are given as well as they can considering how devoid of humor some of the gags are. It was interesting to see Margo Harshman who played Tawny on Even Stevens show up, but she is mostly wasted because her running joke makes little sense in context. John Michael Higgins has a few funny bits as well, but the standout is obviously David Walton as Dr. Rick, the generic frat boy tool bag who slides nicely into the role of antagonist. Not only does he nail the part perfectly, he is given the best recurring jokes. Hearing him proclaim how "Tubthumpin'" by Chumbawumba is part of the soundtrack of his life is simply hysterical. He is a breath of fresh air in a sea of generic, age appropriate, semi-edgy teen humor.

Yes, the film is mostly mediocre, but I have to admire the film for instituting a number of running jokes that it never gives up on, whether they are funny or not. The narrative takes no turns, the direction is sub-par at best, and the script is not deep or anything of the sort, but the film is as funny as the rating will allow and all of the pieces of a great comedy are present. Hopefully in the future projects like this can get an R rating and be phenomenal, because seeing all of this potential go to waste is simply frustrating.

C+ or 2.989473825467328516

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