Fired Up!

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After dragging magazine publishing into the toilet filled with dirty jokes, bite-sized data chunks and leering peek-a-boob celeb photo spreads, Maxim here begins to ruin filmmaking. Fittingly, its debut entry in the movie market is an oversexed dimwit comedy about two meathead jocks living their wet dreams of bountiful new tail by attending cheerleading camp. Yes, cheerleading camp. So, yeah, you could say the movie's a spiritual descendant of low-budget '80s teen pulp like Zapped!, but without the imagination or artistry.

Sporting unruly blond curls (Willie Ames style!) is Eric Christian Olsen (as Nick), a smarmy twit whose high-powered camera mugging soon makes one long for the subtle understatement of Sean William Scott. In the Scott Baio role, Nicholas D'Agosto (Shawn) is a habitual snark factory, but comes off marginally better as he's allowed to reveal something resembling human emotions. They plan to blow off high school football camp for two wonderful weeks of scamming all sorts of silly new strange by pulling from the larger talent pool at the statewide cheerleading camp, and then split before boredom or herpes set in. It's a bummer then that Shawn fouls it up by actually falling for super-hottie Carly (Sarah Roemer).

Upping the creep factor: The male leads are both about 30, and most chicks are a lot closer to the actual age they're playing.

First-time director Will Gluck specializes in low-angle shots of flexible young girls bouncing about in tight T's and micro-sized butt shorts, but doesn't have the common decency to offer up any legitimate nudity for sweet relief. His other trick is to direct scenes like a gerbil on Red Bull, as if to blind us with dizzying pace. The PG-13 rating gets stretched tighter than a Brownie uniform on Kim Kardashian, but is more skeevy than total a gross-out.

The script's penned by some clown calling himself Freedom Jones, who's aiming to take the Obnoxious Pop Culture References Per Minute title from Diablo Cody, by cramming allusions to Nickelback, Animal House and even Hamlet 2 into the mix, between such would-be catch phrases as, "You gotta risk it to get the biscuit!" and occasionally just making up dirty-sounding words such as "Crunt sacks."

And while Nick and Shawn haven't a thought in their tiny heads that extends beyond nookie, they offer quips like, "I gotta go take a Louis Leakey" as if they've a clue who that was. Later, Shawn pleads ignorance of the John Lennon quote, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans," because he's, you know, under 50. Despite the low batting average, there are some laughs, like how the girls treat the Kirsten Dunst's cheerleader classic Bring it On! as holy artifact, with the whole camp reciting the lines like a Jonestown morning prayer meeting. If only the filmmakers worshipped better movies.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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