Diane Keaton (‘Book Club’, ‘The First Wives Club’) is back getting that sweet, sweet pay check and doing absolutely nothing to earn it. This could be the most she has slept through a performance and that’s what she known for - she really couldn’t care less here; you can almost see her staring at the money behind the camera that they had to hold up to keep her focused. ‘Poms’ desperately wants to be this year’s ‘Book Club’ but lacks everything about it - the comedy, the heart, the story - everything is cheap and mutilative, nothing is original. It’s all pulled from another film and just feels so tried.
The film starts with Martha (Keaton) selling off her old belongings after finding out she is sick (you’ll never guess what it could possibly be... cancer, its cancer). This money allows her to afford to go to a retirement home and live out her final months. There, she seizes an opportunity to re-live the cheerleading life she never had but always dreamed of. At the retirement village, we meet a cast of characters including Martha’s next-door neighbour Sheryl (Jacki Weaver, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘Animal Kingdom’), who sounds like she is huffing helium and looks like she has had surgery to make her month permanently smile. Celia Weston (‘The Intern’, TVs ‘Modern Family’) plays the evil bully who wants the cheerleading club to fail. But she's not the only villain - there is also a group of local high school cheerleaders who see the club as a joke, expect one of girls who helps them train because she believes in them (Alisha Boe, TV's ’13 Reasons Why’, ‘Paranormal Activity 4’). This movie is like a soup of old people film chichés and Disney Channel Original Movie chichés, and they just go, "Here you go, take a sip. Its tastes terrible, but that’s all we've got."
SWITCH: 'POMS' TRAILER
The rest of the cheer squad is rounded out with Pam Grier (‘Jackie Brown’, ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’), Rhea Perlman (‘Matilda’, TV's ‘Cheers’) and Phyllis Somerville (‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, ‘Stoker’), who are all just kind of there - not bad, not good.
For me, the biggest failure of ‘Poms’ is the lack of fun it has. It tries to check all these clichés, and though Diane Keaton doing cheerleading is something that should be easy to make fun, they instead somehow made it seem so tried and bland. The film feels the need to have an emotional arc that seems to have been an afterthought; Martha having cancer never really factors into the film, it’s just a cheap way to manipulate the audience to cry and nothing more. ‘Poms’ very easily could have just been a straight-out comedy - we don’t need to see all the drama of a retirement village. The film doesn’t even give us cheerleading. We have a few small scenes of the group doing the same one move over and over and then Keaton laughing at the camera. It’s not until the end that we see a performance that’s fun, but because we suffered through everything else you can’t really enjoy it.
This movie is like a soup of old people film chichés and Disney Channel Original Movie chichés, and they just go, 'Here you go, take a sip. Its tastes terrible, but that’s all we've got.'
‘Poms’ is nowhere near the worst comedy I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the most frustrating. It takes what sounds like an enjoyable time and turns it into a bunch of lazy clichés. This Mother’s Day, don’t make your Mum suffer through this one.