By Mark Saldana
Rating: 1.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
I sincerely hate to be the bad guy when it comes to tearing down movies about underdogs trying to overcome adversity, but this movie just doesn’t have much good to offer in terms of storytelling and character development. I am sure the filmmakers who conceived this attempt at feel-good entertainment had their hearts in the right place. However, all of their good intentions get undermined by a threadbare script and poorly executed filmmaking. For all of its loving intentions and plucky spirit, Poms just flat-out failed to win over this audience member.
Diane Keaton stars as Martha, a single retiree with no children and nothing else going on in her life. As she faces her inevitable mortality, Martha decides to downsize her belongings, by selling most of her property and moving to a lovely retirement community. Unlike other seniors who live there, Martha has little interest in socializing with her neighbors and participating in any of the activities available. After meeting her fiesty and rebellious neighbor Sheryl (Jackie Weaver), Martha decides to start her own club–a senior cheerleading squad. Though Martha and Sheryl manage to gather together a motley crew of peppy senior women, they face some opposition from defacto community leader Vicki (Celia Weston) and other parties concerned with the safety and well-being of the ladies.
Written and directed by Zara Haynes, who co-wrote with Shane Atkinson, Poms goes through the motions, but just doesn’t have enough solid footing deliver a powerful and entertaining punch. Most of the comedy is weak and unfunny and whatever emotional gravity the filmmakers wanted to deliver just doesn’t work. With the exception of a the lead characters, most of the supporting characters are simply there for filler.
Diane Keaton does okay in the lead role, but often comes across like she is fulfilling some kind of contractual obligation. Jackie Weaver brings some spirit and joy to her character, but the writing does not at all do her talent justice. Celia Weston is okay as the antagonistic Vicki, but her character is about as developed as a constructive paper cutout. Her sole purpose us opposition, but the motives for her actions are nonexistent. Other participants include Pam Grier, Alisha Boe, Charlie Tahan, Phyllis Somerville, Rhea Perlman, and Bruce McGill.
I’d give this movie a higher rating for effort, if it seemed like the filmmakers really put forth some serious effort to make their film work. At this point, it feels like, despite their intentions, they didn’t care enough to better develop the story and characters. Again, I hate to be the bad guy, but Poms doesn’t even deserve an obligatory participation ribbon.