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Movie Review

Football-playing pals Nick and Shawn are always devising new ways to "score," both on and—especially—off the field. When the quarterback-receiver duo isn't shredding defensive alignments en route to the end zone, they're scanning the sidelines for any girl whose physical attributes might merit a different kind of pass.

So when the time comes to report for a predictably hot, humid preseason football camp in El Paso, Texas, the guys wonder if there might be a better way to sweat out the summer. That's when Nick hits upon an idea. What if they conned their way into cheerleader camp? After all, their school's cheer squad stinks! They'd probably take just about anybody.

Just think of it, the randy jocks reason, a boot camp full of 300 scantily clad beauties—all ripe for a personal pep rally. So the boys recruit Shawn's well-connected little sister to give them a crash course in the basic skills of male cheerleading ... and then make their way to camp.

Shawn sets his sights on his school's head cheerleader, Carly. Nick "aspires" to bed the camp's married coach, Diora. But no matter how things go with the guys' first-round draft picks, the football studs are eager to see how many girls will tumble to their, um, charm.

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Positive Elements

Shawn and Nick have a tightly woven friendship. Accordingly, they make small sacrifices and repeatedly help each other out of difficult situations. When Shawn starts to fall for Carly, he apologizes for his and Nick's deception regarding their cheerleading motivation.

If there is any underlying positive message in this movie, it's that there's more to life, people and relationships than you might notice at first glance. John Lennon's famous words, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans," ring true several times throughout the film.

Spiritual Content

A cheerleader prays for his squad before a competition.

Sexual Content

As the skirt-chasing buddies roll into camp, they are met—just as they suspected—by toned, tanned, shapely young cheerleaders. "I think our bus crashed, and we're in heaven," Nick says approvingly. The camera zooms in on almost every one of the girls, it seems, as they strut, stretch and bounce through the film. Their attire? Formfitting outfits that generally expose as much skin as possible—that is, when they aren't stripping their outfits off and splashing about in bras and panties at the local lake. Shirtless guys get occasional screen time as well.

Shawn and Nick seduce as many cheerleaders as possible. We don't see the guys do more than kiss and grope their clueless conquests, but that's more than sufficient to get the point across. It's implied that they sleep with girl after girl after girl after girl. Amid Shawn and Nick's heterosexual misadventures, Fired Up! also features several homosexual moments. Two girls kiss as the boys look on lustfully and approvingly. A male cheerleader grabs and repeatedly squeezes another man's backside. A female cheerleader takes advantage of a naive teammate, rubbing both her rear and her chest in separate scenes. One of those scenes involves her climbing into bed with the other girl while she sleeps.

After a wet, underwear-clad practice session in the lake involving both girls and guys (and at least one sly sexual hook up), Shawn and Nick have their clothes stolen and must run back through campus naked. We catch fleeting glimpses of their bare backsides in the process. They're stopped by the male head coach and make up a lame excuse about the advantage of practicing in the nude. The coach, of course, asks them to demonstrate their routine. Full-frontal nudity is avoided by the strategic placement of pom poms.

Nick almost succeeds in fully consummating his seduction of his married, thirtysomething coach. The two begin to strip off their clothes (we see his shirtless torso) and are on the verge of doing far more when her husband shows up.

Finally, fast-paced dialogue is packed with various sexual phrases, references and double entendres.

Violent Content

Nick gets punched in the face by Carly's ex-boyfriend, Rick. Another character clocks Rick, knocking him to the ground. A female cheerleader adds insult to injury by kicking him as well. Elsewhere, a female cheerleader hits an opponent in the face. Unplanned tumbles and splats dig for laughs during the routines, as does some mild cuff-to-the-head slapstick.

Crude or Profane Language

About 30 uses each of the s-word and "d--n." Many of the former come courtesy of an adult high school football coach. The f-word is never spoken, but we repeatedly hear the acronym "F.U." played out as a double entendre. Another acronym evoking the f-word ("B.F.D.") gets tossed into the mix, too. Characters make crude slang references to male and female body parts. They also abuse Jesus' and God's names, mixing up the latter with "d--n." Nick has a penchant for employing vulgar—and bizarre—spiritual "slogans" when situations get intense, such as "Rock me sexy Jesus" and "Sweet Mary in a D-cup." Dozens of other profanities, including "h---," "a--" and "b--ch," are also uttered along the way.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Though we don't see them drinking, intoxication is implied on several occasions when teen guys stumble around, fall down and appear to pass out. Teens hold cups at a bonfire that probably contain alcohol. One guy holds a bottle of wine and asks another teen to join him, but they never get around to opening it. Another unopened bottle of wine is visible in a house where a bunch of football players are staying. A cheerleader says she'd be "totally up" for taking steroids. Nick makes comments about President Bush snorting coke in his youth.

Other Negative Elements

A football coach's foulmouthed reputation is treated as a big joke by students. And it's unclear whether that coach is actually married to or is just having a fling with the school's cheerleading coach.

Conclusion

Fired Up! sometimes manages—despite itself—to spotlight a nice (if slight) message about looking past the superficial judgments we tend to make in life.

But let's not give this PG-13 romp too much credit.

The majority of the pic is evenly divided between babe, "boob" and sex jokes liberally mixed with nonstop ogling of scores and scores and scores of nubile adolescents. The filmmakers' klieg lights also showcase frisky homosexual-minded teens and a high school guy who almost has sex with a married adult.

To hear the movie's stars and producers talk, these subjects shouldn't be taken too seriously. Regarding his role as Nick, Eric Christian Olsen said, "My mom's going to be super proud of me. Nothing like watching your son do a naked cheer." Indeed, nothing like it. Scenes like that one result in an unwanted mash-up of usually R-rated teen sex comedy clichés (from the likes of Superbad) and cheerleading film silliness (Bring It On).

It's a bit of a surprise, then, to discover that this retread of tired territory was actually "inspired" by something like a true story. Co-producers and friends Matthew Gross and Phil Needleman, it turns out, tried Nick and Shawn's scheme in high school.

Gross relates, "A girl on our high school squad mentioned to Phil it would be great to have guys on the squad, so he asked if I'd like to join the squad with him. I thought he was nuts until he mentioned going to cheer camp with a thousand girls ... genius!"

Needleman adds, "The morning stretches were my favorite part of the day. ... We would stand back and stretch—"

"—our eyeballs," Gross finishes. "We'd stretch our eyeballs."

If that backstory doesn't tell us everything we need to know, Gross adds this morsel about Fired Up!'s intended audience: "I laid out the story and partnered with my friend, Maxim's Peter Jaysen, because I felt the story was perfect for Maxim's demographic and audience."

If the theater full of guffawing, college-age guys and girls I saw this movie with is any indication, Fired Up! has accomplished its dubious mission.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

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