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Poms Reviews

Poms is an old-school situational comedy about a group of grandmas reliving their youth by forming a cheerleading squad. While this isn’t high concept, it provides enough steam to take us on an hour and a half journey of friendship and female bonding. Martha (Diane Keaton) has joined Sun Springs retirement community to “die” as she puts it. Despite her best intentions to shirk friendship and just slip away quietly, she befriends her sultry neighbor Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), who’s disappointed at first to have yet another female on the block. Despite their banter, they soon become friends and dig down to one of Martha’s biggest disappointments in life – the fact that when she was younger she had to quit the cheerleading team because her mother was ill. Martha decides to set out on her final adventure of a lifetime: to put together a cheerleading squad comprised of elderly women living in her retirement community that want to live out their own unfulfilled childhood fantasies of being on the cheerleading team. While overcoming the major obstacles of their aging bodies, as well as not being taken seriously, the new crew hires a young cheerleader Chloe (Alisha Boe) to teach them a routine to perform in competition. As the women follow their dreams, they must learn what it means to be a cheerleader, which is to be a member of a team that works together. Most notably, this group of grandmas turned cheerleaders is comprised of former Hollywood bombshells, who are beautiful in their own way even during their twilight years. Even though there’s not much room in the script for any genuinely tender moments, the actors all bring their ‘A’ game and put enough nuanced experience into the dialogue to convince us that they are good friends. What could have been a total disaster is averted solely on the talent of the actors. While Poms could easily have been unlikeable, there’s something just sweet enough about it to take a deep breath and keep moving on. Writer and director Zara Hayes (Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist) puts in some solid work on her first non-documentary feature, but it feels like she’s going off a common playbook rather than adding her own creative stamp. Screenwriter Shane Atkinson doesn’t create a unique story but borrows his tropes from every other underdog sports movie. The effect is like watching an old childhood favorite that you can pretty much mouth the words to, though you’re not quite sure why you ever liked it, other than its familiarity. An audience seeking the laugh-out-loud humor that includes gross-out gags and over-the-top inappropriate lewd behavior of most modern comedies may be sorely remiss. But Poms will take up just a little bit of sweet space somewhere in the forgettable unconsciousness that will leave most viewers feeling satisfied, even if they’re not quite sure why.