Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Rhea Perlman, Alisha Boe
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
…an often touching movie and in her first narrative feature, Hayes proves to be a confident and thoughtful storyteller; with performances from Keaton and Weaver that are definitely worth cheering for.
After the rather pedestrian Book Club last year, Diane Keaton returns in another story for the long-lived about the long-lived to our silver screens with new comedy, POMS – a reference to the decorative tuft used by a cheerleader rather than the colloquial term given to the British.
Keaton plays Martha, a cancer-stricken senior who moves into the sunny retirement community of Sun Springs where joining a club is compulsory and everyone travels in golf buggies. Despite her initial wishes to live out her remaining days quietly, she slowly warms to her young-at-heart neighbour (played by the excellent Jacki Weaver) and decides to fulfil her childhood dream of forming a cheerleading squad.
Of course, the idea of a group of elderly ladies doing star jumps and a lot of physical exertion brings them into contention with resident party-pooper Celia Weston and her southern belles, along with a group of Bring It On-esque college students. But unlike the Kirsten Dunst teen vehicle, this isn’t a cheerleading comedy. Rather more a comedy that involves cheerleading; focusing instead on the friendship and camaraderie of its characters.
The best moments, for that matter, are when the aspiring cheer squad share the screen. Progressing from an (albeit perfunctory) auditions montage to training under the tutelage of Keaton, the story excels in establishing the happiness that the ladies get from spending time together – an enjoyment absent from their seemingly picturesque retirement. One particular scene in which the timeworn ladies look in a mirror and reveal what they like about themselves, is delivered with real heart, as Keaton progressively empowers her friends and lifts their spirits. Credit to director Zara Hayes in transcending the usual dance-movie framework (competition scene included) and instilling it with emotional weight from her veteran stars.
You will also find solid supporting turns from Rhea Perlman and Bruce McGill (a criminally underrated actor when he’s not working with Michael Mann). Additionally, young guns Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why) and Charlie Tanner (TV’s Ozark and Gotham) have their moments, as they get embroiled with assisting the ladies in their new-found activity. If there are any casualties, it would be Pam Grier – quietly underused as Olive, one of the cheerleading troupe.
POMS is an often touching movie and in her first narrative feature, Hayes proves to be a confident and thoughtful storyteller; with performances from Keaton and Weaver that are definitely worth cheering for.