Based on the trailers alone, Zara Hayes’ Poms could easily be dismissed as something that we’ve seen numerous times and won’t try to break any new ground. And you wouldn’t be wrong with that criticism. Nearly every single moment of the movie is a rehash of others in the genre and not done better either. But, surprisingly enough, the movie comes with a great amount of charm and heart to make it a light, entertaining comedy.
It starts off with Martha (Diane Keaton) hosting an estate sale. Through some rather unnecessary voice-over narration, she tells the viewers how she’s lived in the same apartment for 46 years. But after her recent cancer diagnosis, she realizes that there’s no turning back and it’s time to sell everything and move to a retirement home. It’s during the opening minutes, as Keaton’s character keeps discussing how she will soon be on her way to a retirement home in Georgia that I kept wanting the movie to just drop the voiceover and show us exactly what is going to happen, rather than tell us.
The camera then focuses on a picture of a younger Martha next to a separate picture of her mother. Again, through unnecessary narration, Martha explains how her mother never believed she could make it as a cheerleader. And we know exactly where this is going from here on out.
Martha then moves to a retirement community called Sun Springs, where her main purpose of being there is “just to die.” She has no interest in interacting with others in the community or participating in any of the groups. But, as some time passes, Martha decides she wants to create her own group. It’s not a book club or knitting group or anything that most people might associate elderly women with. Rather, it’s a cheerleading squad.
She’s met with some blowback, obviously, as people say she and those who want to join are “too old,” they’ll embarrass themselves, and there’s a greater risk of injury for them because of their age. But Martha doesn’t give into the criticisms and neither do those who are in the squad. This includes family members and significant others, as well as younger, prettier cheerleaders, whom they find themselves later competing against.
Poms is the typical, fighting-against-all-odds movie that comes with training montages, newfound romance, and whatever else you may expect. But what makes it work so well is the cast the movie has assembled. They all work together so well and it’s clear that they had a blast making the movie.
Keaton is enjoyable to watch, as she usually is, but some of the standouts come from those in the supporting cast. Jacki Weaver is especially funny as the rowdy Cheryl, who always likes to have a good time no matter what time it is, and is also the crassest of the group. Some of Weaver’s jokes are repetitive and crude, but her enthusiasm in the performance is what makes it such a joy to watch.
The Blu-ray for Poms comes in a 1080p High Definition widescreen format with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Some of the scenes look a bit too glossy, but the competitive moments are a thrill to watch. The audio is a DTS 5.1 Master HD track, and it came through without any noticeable issues. The only letdown is that this release only comes with a DVD and digital copy of the movie and no special features. Since it’s loosely inspired by a true story, it would have been nice to get some more insight into the real-life group.
Poms is one of those movies you can put on for a lazy day at home, shut off your brain, and just sit back and enjoy for 90 minutes. Its screenplay may be filled with tropes and some jokes that don’t work, but it’s a breezy comedy that gets by with excellent casting and good charm.