Three cheers for braving new things as we age! One cheer for the movie Poms, which should have been so much better given its veteran ensemble of Hollywood golden girls. The movie has moments that are relatable and funny and poignant, but it doesn’t break any new ground and will escape your memory faster than you can say Bring It On. It’s a bittersweet comedy about death and dying. And living. And friendship.
Here’s the gist: Diane Keaton (Book Club) plays Martha, a single woman of retirement age who packs up her stuff and moves to an upscale senior living community in Georgia – to die. But first, we must cheer. [That’s not a spoiler. The trailer presents the entire 90-minute movie in a nutshell, except for the big formulaic finish].
Martha enters the Sun Springs Retirement Community sick, cynical and depressed and seems content to stay that way. Until, at the urging of her perky new neighbor Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), Martha decides to form a cheerleading squad with her fellow residents. Cue the fun little audition montage where everyone makes the cut. The women may not be in the best physical shape, but they’ve got spirit, yes they do!
Of course, the path to cheer heaven is paved with cliches and obstacles, including a group of obnoxious high school cheerleaders, adult children who think they know best, and the rules-obsessed governing body of Sun Springs, led by a scene-stealing southern belle named Vicki (Celia Weston). The supporting cast is solid but under-served. It includes two YA actors (Alisha Boe and Charlie Tahan) who aim to give Poms a boost of ‘multi-generational’ appeal. Good luck with that. The target demo skews heavily toward the grown-up Book Club crowd, and that’s okay. What would have made it more okay? If Poms had lived up to its potential. I’d be cheering from the rooftops instead of pontificating from the patio.