In Fired Up, two high school Don Giovannis smooth-talk their way into cheerleading camp under false pretences and with lecherous intentions (“three hundred honeys on our biscuits”). Nick and Shawn (Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D’Agosto) are also motivated by a desire that dares to speak its name. They want a break from the tiresome company of other men, i.e. the stupid football camp they usually attend. This tension, between the boys’ need to fulfill conventional masculine expectations and their longing to quit being conformists, is what makes Will Gluck’s debut dude comedy such unexpectedly smart raunchy teen fare.
Quarterback Nick pursues an instructor-cougar (Molly Sims) while his wingman pines for their school’s haughty/hottie squad leader Carly (Sarah Roemer), who already has a pre-med boyfriend (David Walton doing a Chumbawamba fan to prick perfection). Sure, the plotting is conventional, the climax predictable, the gross-out hi-jinks gross (anal beads serve as both prop and symbol), but Freedom Jones’s screwball script is heavy on banter, and the cast of unknowns does a credible job delivering the repartee, reminding this reviewer, improbably, of the hardboiled teens in Brick. Pom-pom hurlers are a far cry too from Ghost World’s adolescent misfits, but as illustrated by a scene where the kids watch Bring It On (every camper’s favorite movie, natch) cheerleaders are also in their own way freaks and outsiders, exiled by choice in a looked-down-upon and predominantly female milieu.
Fired Up keeps open the possibility that one of its lead horndogs is actually gay (“closets are made of many different kinds of wood,” advises a fellow cheerleader), but whatever their proclivities the movie offers little doubt that Nick and Shawn, camp crasher Lotharios and BFFs, love each other best.