Have you ever run into those crazy Internet reviews that talk about that wonderful film experience known as “Porky’s”? How it was the horny teen movie that really had a heart of gold? No? You never read that one? Well, good. I have. I’m still itching from the exposure.
That said, I don’t want to seem too enthusiastic about “Fired Up.” But I would say it’s not the disaster I expected. The horndog teen romp, with two football players spending a moment of personal growth at cheerleader camp, at least has a touch of wit, even if the only thing it ultimately shares with “Ferris Bueller” is Edie McClurg. I appreciate the fact that it keeps to a minimum “American Pie” gross-out humor, leaving the penis out of the pie crust in favor of bits of intelligent observational humor and satire. Compared to most of these films, it’s smarter. And dumber. And everything in between.
The plot flows from two bodily secretions. One I can’t mention. The other is sweat. Shawn (D’Agosto) and Nick’s (Eric Christian Olsen) Chicago-area high school football team is headed for spring practice in El Paso, Texas. To avoid the horror of the heat in a more pleasurable place, the boys talk their way onto the cheerleading team. (For the record, I grew up in El Paso, and I’ve been to Chicago in Spring. Two weeks of sun would seem like a relief.)
A series of cartwheels, makeouts, skinnydipping, gay baiting, and mascot jokes ensue. This is hardly a setup for Ingmar Bergman, but as male teen fantasy it’s relatively harmless. When the humor fails, “Fired Up” at least shows its spirit with energy and skill. I could do without the gay-baiting. But I admit to being seventeen once upon a time. Still, it’s nothing special. And it won’t replace “Bring It On” as the official film of cheerleaders everywhere. But if you’re ever stuck as the only man at cheerleading camp.