seen | Poms Movie

Poms’ premise cheers loudly: There is NO such construct as age.

Opening just in time for Mother’s Day, Poms, a feel-good comedy featuring a star-studded cast led by Diane Keaton and supported by Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston, Alisha Boe, Phyllis Somerville, Charlie Tahan, Bruce McGill, and Rhea Perlman. Follows a largely formulaic script, devoid of plot twists, and replete with archetypes and broad humour.

Diane Keaton plays a bitter version of her usual screen persona, Martha, a native New Yorker who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Decided to forgo chemo treatment and moves to a retirement community in Georgia, in her words: “to die”. But we know this is not going to be a heavy hitting drama. She promptly forges an unlikely friendship with her “anything goes” bubbly neighbour Sheryl (Weaver). She confides in Sheryl that she has dreamed of being a Cheerleader in her youth, but due to life circumstances, she had to give it up. Two of them decide to form a team and go on to recruit others in the retirement community. There is a bit of Grace and Frankie meets Bring it on spirit to this film.

Poms serves us a portion of “feminism lite”, and an abridged version of universal truths on ageism and misogyny. You can find them on one of those viral #WordsOfWisdom type posts that your aunt shared on social media. Or perhaps some new age celebrity lifestyle guru peddling feel-good quotes to the masses. It works to some extent as it resonates with broad audiences in its simplicity.

The film tackles age and sex as a “social construct” imposed on women, by undermining it through sophomoric humour that more often than not makes one cringe. One of my favourite scenes is when the ladies kidnap their fellow cheerleader from the watchful eyes of her misogynistic son and head to the competition. A heartwarming moment when she gives it back to him and reclaims her “freedom”.

The underdeveloped plot of Keaton’s characters terminal cancer is film’s weakness, an unsuccessful attempt to weave in serious issue with the comedy.

Overall, the film did make me laugh, shedding a few tears, and I walked out feeling reasonably entertained. My retired mother on the other hand, who the film was made for, left a little unimpressed. Her judgment perhaps, a little too harsh!

I give the film 3 out of 5.

90 mins
Zara Hayes, Celyn Jones
Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Rhea Pearlman