Mascots, in the world of Fired Up, never talk. No, not even in their bunks. They apparently never take off their costumes either. Amazingly, they’re the most enjoyable characters in the movie, because no one who actually speaks is entertaining.
For instance, Fired Up finds it funny that the camp is named after the title, and the subsequent cheer is “FU.” It is not funny the first time, certainly not the second, and downright offensive the third. By the time the cheer is over, it has been done seven times, and someone found it clever enough to use it yet again during the end credits. That’s a failure on the part of all involved.
Leads Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D’Agosto play high school students, despite the former being 31 years old effectively making the film somewhat creepy. They’re football players, but decide to attend to cheer camp during the summer instead of football camp, seizing the opportunity to pick up the 300+ plus women also attending.
This leads to a predictable routine of various one-liner sex jokes, few of them actually funny. No one who acts or talks like this would actually get away with it in the real world, and the unrated cut simply adds in vulgar lines cut for a PG-13 rating in theaters.
There is nothing wrong with raunch if it is handled right, and obviously that’s not the case here. This looks and is acted as if it were a low budget TV movie, and carries the same level of writing from first timer Freedom Jones.
What meager story is present is completely predictable, and only seems to exist because someone was told to put it in. Think the guy will get the girl he happens to fall in love with? Think the jerk boyfriend will get his comeuppance? Will the guys realize they have a passion for cheering and turn back to help the team? The suspense will not kill you.
You have to wonder if Fired Up even tried, or was simply tossed on screen because previous cheerleading films such as Bring it On brought the box office take Universal was looking for. Fired Up tries to appeal to the male audience as well, effectively doubling the potential crowds in theaters for Sony’s spin on the concept. That’s why it was made, and thankfully didn’t garner enough attention to justify any kind of follow up. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Movie]
Contrast is a massive problem for this AVC encode, bleeding out into the blacks, washing out faces, blotting out color, and destroying any sense of depth in the picture. Sharpness is high, and flesh tones are accurate, although not enough to overcome the severity of the contrast. Detail is diluted, rarely delivering facial textures or other notable attributes.
An odd contrast boost occurs at the 37:13 mark, right in the middle of a shot. The picture notably dims for no discernable reason, and then adjusts itself properly in the next edit. It occurred upon a reboot of the disc as well. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
Some minor surround use occurs during the cheer sequences, with the throes of cheerleaders screaming into all channels. The repetitive soundtrack delivers some low-end effects. Dialogue sequences are entirely left to the front. There is a notable drop in fidelity during inserted scenes of the unrated cut. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
Extras are brief, beginning with a commentary from director Will Gluck, and lead co-stars Olsen and D’Agosto. This is Not a Cheerleading Movie is a typical making-of, although discussion of cheer camps is repeated from Double Duty, which focuses entirely on the camp.
A mildly amusing gag reel offers some R-rated laughs, and an equally amusing press junket meltdown is sadly brief. A load of trailers and generic BD-Live support are standard fare. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]