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Young stars have cheery outlook for 'Fired Up'

"Fired Up" is " 'Wedding Crashers' meets 'Bring It On,' " jokes star Eric Christian Olsen. A comic trip to cheer camp taken by a couple of high school footballers looking to score -- by becoming cheerleaders and being amidst the hotties -- it's not the sort of high-brow comedy that will win critical acclaim.

"It's like being trapped for an hour-and-a-half in a pound full of yappy puppies," the Hollywood Reporter complained of the movie, which opened Friday in area theaters.

"But we got this cool writeup on," Olsen, counters, laughing.

We reached Olsen (of TV's "Brothers & Sisters"), who plays one of the players turned playas, and Sarah Roemer ("Disturbia"), the star cheerleader, in Hollywood.

>So, who developed "a newfound respect for cheerleaders" while making this?

Roemer: I had no idea how hard the work is, how athletic you have to be to do that stuff. We did two weeks of Cheer Boot Camp, 8-to-5 every day. An incredible workout.

Olsen: I always had love, lotsa love, for cheerleaders. Maybe a little admiration. But respect? Not until I did this movie. . . . I played hockey for 15 years, and I got more beaten up and injured on this movie than I ever did in skates!

Nick (D'Agosto, his co-star) and I were essentially chucking these carcasses (girls) 15 feet into the air. I'd come home, take my shirt off, and you'd swear I'd just done a month on "Gladiator." Bruises, scrapes. I had to tape my wrist. I blew an ankle out. My lower back was screwed up. Boot camp broke us, made us feel like pansies.

Roemer: I was surprised at how dangerous it could be. You'd think the hardest, scariest thing would be the stunts, getting tossed in the air and all. It wasn't, so long as the girls teaching us were tossing me. They made me feel light as a feather. But the guys on the set? I was scared to death!

Olsen: Actresses are such fragile, skinny little things!

>You guys are both well out of high school. What made you want to go back there for the movie?

Olsen, 31, and laughing: I didn't. Totally didn't want to do this. Dude, my last shot at playing high school was like FIVE years ago! No WAY! But the script was funny, and this has nooo grounding in reality! You just shave twice a day to pull it off.

Roemer, 24, and a model since she was 15: I didn't cheer in high school. I was the farthest thing from a cheerleader in high school. We made fun of cheerleaders. Everybody did! But no more. All that choreography? I couldn't make sense of it.

Olsen: Thank god it's film, right? If you can't get it in one take, you can get it in take 11. Or parts of take four and take 11!