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Monday, March 02, 2009

Fired Up!

I don’t know if you’ve even noticed that I’ve not said a peep about Fired Up!, the “football jocks go to cheerleading camp” movie that came out a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps you’ve said to yourself “Oh, why has Miss Clamzilla deserted us when we needed her most?” and if you did, then I must simply say that if this is what you “need” the most then you must lead a charmed life ~ either that or what you really need to do is to get your butt out of that bed in your parents’ basement and quit letting your mother do all of your laundry and cooking for you, you lazy slob! But I say that in a loving and caring Grace Noble sort of way.© Seriously.

Actually, I put off seeing
Fired Up! for quite a while because even though it has been a long time now, I still hold onto a lot of bitter, sad feelings about my own experiences as a cheerleader in college. Oh sure, I brought on getting sacked from the squad myself, but I just couldn’t help myself.

They knew when they asked me to join that I came from the wrong side of the trailer park and it was inevitable I was going to bring *ahem* a little spice and color to the white bread world of the University of Southern California Cheerleading Squad. That also meant I was going to stuff the ballot box so I would become head cheerleader right off the bat, an extreme rarity in the cheerleading world, but I was never above a little white collar crime to make sure I could perpetrate my blue collar hijinks.

I was power mad from the start! Once elected (hee hee!) how could I not have fun with a squad that supports a football team called the Trojans? At every game I’d snatch that microphone away from the color commentator and introduce the squad by saying “These girls may not know sh*t about football, but I guarantee you they know everything they need to about Trojans!” The gals may not have liked it, but the crowds roared, especially the men, and, at football games, who do you think we were trying to impress?

I’ll grant that some of my cheers may have crossed the line of traditional cheerleading decorum on occasion (by a tad ~ just a tad), with things like:

We’ve got a shoo-fly pie and an apple pan dowdy,

Make your thighs rise up and your business say “Howdy!”

Well, you can huff, you can puff, you can even go a struttin’,

But you’ll never see a glimpse of our hot juicy muffins!

Or

It’s nice to be wanted,

It’s good for our egos

But we looked in your shower room

And seen bigger on seagulls.

Go (name of competing team)

Go (name of competing team)

Go (name of competing team)

Go Home!


Frankly, I thought my cheerography added a lot to the squad, but then the girls went to the stuffy Board of Regents at the University and pulled a Benedict Arnold on me when all I did was have them welcome the opposing team from Norfolk State University from Virginia, who had flown all the way across the country to play our boys, with a nice little cheer. When their team came out on the field I had the squad ~ well, MADE THEM ~ greet the guys with a simple explanation of who they were:

They don’t drink.

They don’t smoke.

NORFOLK! NORFOLK!


Personally, I thought it was cute, but those girls turned like nine day old milk left out on the counter in August. And to think that I treated these girls like sisters; granted they were the kind of sisters you send money off to third world countries to feed them for like 14¢ a day or so, so you don’t actually have to have them at your own dinner table because you know they’d be positively gross and probably pick their feet or something worse, but still ~ they were sisters. I even let Carmen Delvecchio come to the movies with me once after she showed up at my house one night with her breath smelling of more than just her uncle’s tongue, if you get my meaning. Don’t say I’m lacking in compassion! So you can imagine how deep the knife felt when Carmen plunged it into my back.


That’s why I thought Fired Up! might be too painful a reminder of “the good old bad old days,” but actually it was very little like my own experience. It was also nothing like the T&A spectacular hinted at in its own advertising campaign, which must have come as a terrible disappointment to the hordes of horny young males who showed up in the movie’s opening weekend expecting to see a boobfest gone wild. Instead, they ended up with an almost sweet tale about two horndog boys like themselves, Shawn Colfax (Nicholas D’Agosto; Extreme Movie) and Nick Brady (Eric Christian Olsen; Eagle Eye) who are star football players at Gerald R. Ford High School. Shall I bother to even roll my eyes at the fact that D’Agosto is 28 or that Olsen is 31? Would it matter? Never mind. These “boys” ingeniously devise a scheme to skip summer football camp in El Paso, Texas, for a much more appetizing three week excursion to cheerleading camp, where they will be basically the only straight guys in a sea of 300+ hot babes wanting to get physical (well, gymnastically physical anyway, but it’s a start). Obviously they are in a bit of a hurry to make this happen before they reach a point where they are going to need Viagra® or a hip replacement to pull off their scheme.


So let the PG-13 Sexual Olympics begin. Oh, you didn’t know this was a PG-13 film? I don’t blame you. The poster, with its ginormous FU! and the video ads with tons of scantily clad damsels would lead you to expect lots of nudity and bedroom ba-dunk-a-dunk action galore, but other than innuendo, crude language, and a whole lot of kissing with a whole lot of different women, these guys are actually pretty wholesome. In fact, Shawn quickly finds himself not only falling for his school’s squad leader, Carly (Sarah Roemer; The Golden Door), he even comes to care enough about her to not make it about a sexual conquest. Instead, he focuses on how to blow the cover of her cheating, sleazeball boyfriend, Dr. Rick (David Walton; tv’s “Quarterlife”) (so she won’t be hurt by the scoundrel) and how to best work with her to help the squad excel at becoming a better lineup for their big inter-school play-offs. It’s not quite that simple for Nick, but one of the two has to play the “hard-to-change” wild child for at least half of the movie. For Nick, he has plans to score with Diora, (Molly Sims; Yes Man) the wife of the Camp’s Director, Coach Keith (John Michael Higgins; also of Yes Man), who seems inexplicably naïve, stupid, or oddly tolerant of all that goes on around him. Eventually, though, even Nick realizes, with horror, that he has become “a real human being!” Most shocking of all is the revelation that Nick, of all people, has secretly been keeping a diary all along, and apparently he has quite a flowery vocabulary, so much so that when his clandestine yearnings for Diora are read out loud by an unexpected tormentor who steals his journal to embarrass him, Nick discovers a surprising response, or, as he so tastefully puts it “Who knew (I) could use (my) true feelings to wrangle snooch."


Okay, so the plot may be fairly predictable, but what separates Fired Up! from any number of other cheerleading movies is the clever dialogue by first-time screenwriter Freedom Jones, who parodies the insipidness of the high school mind at its best (or worst). For example, in the bus, the cheerleaders feel compelled to “cheer” the entire trip to camp with a running travelogue. “We’re driving, we’re driving! Yeah! We’re driving!” “We’re parking, we’re parking! Yeah! We’re parking!"

When they finally arrive (“We’re here, we’re here! Yeah! We’re here!”) the boys step off the bus, and director Will Gluck (tv’s “The Loop”) provides a ridiculously extended slow motion tracking shot through a bevy of at least a hundred gorgeous young women, exercising together, gyrating, stretching, and showing some skin before the camera returns to the guys where Nick suggests “The bus must have crashed and we’ve died and gone straight to heaven” to which Shawn explains that this just can’t be the case because “If that were true we’d have heard ‘We’re crashing, we’re crashing! Yeah! We’re crashing!’

That, along with touches like a night at the outdoor airing of the original cheer movie, 2000’s Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst, which has now been elevated to such a status amongst this crowd that all 300 in the audience slavishly recite every line of dialogue from memory as if they are in a swooning state of euphoria are what make Fired Up! a delight. Who can resist laughing at stupid stuff like this? Sure Fired Up! is not going to make you smarter or have you leaving the theater feeling like a better person inside for having seen it, but it is one hell of an entertaining, if vulgar, little comedy with a good heart at its center. I say “Check it out, check it out! Yeah! Check it out!”

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