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ENTER-POMS-MOVIE-REVIEW-MCT (copy)

With so many films directed at younger audiences, when a movie for older audiences arrives in theaters, you want to cheer it on. Unfortunately, Poms, a story about some senior citizens forming a cheerleading squad, is not worth the hurray.

You put some older women together in a retirement community and offer up stale jokes about aging bodies and women over 60 forming a cheer squad. There’s a cute premise there, but the script does the good cast wrong. Diane Keaton tries hard to make the movie feel special, but special isn’t the way to describe Poms. Keaton plays Martha, a woman who moves into the Sun Springs retirement community. She’s not a joiner in clubs, which is required in the community. After she befriends her neighbor (Jacki Weaver), the two decide in an awkward set of scenes to form a cheerleading squad for the community.

If you watched the trailer for the movie, you know how this goes. Even if you didn’t see the trailer, you could figure out how the plot will play out: several women try out for the squad, they barely can put together a routine, they embarrass themselves, and then the script allows for a victorious turnaround. The movie does try to add some emotional heft to make the story feel more important, but it doesn’t work.

Poms is labeled a comedy, and that means laughter, which we could all use in our lives. Weaver, Rhea Perlman, Pam Grier and the other women try hard to deliver the jokes, but the laughs fall flat in this film. The movie sets up an enemy of the squad with Celia Weston’s self-important social director of the retirement community. Of course, the script requires her to dislike the women’s cheerleading group. Why? Who knows. She’s assisted by Bruce McGill as the security guy for the community. We also get snotty high-school cheerleaders. Maybe someone thought the movie was one of the Bring it On films and decided that the two cheer teams insult each other.

A trite and awkward movie, Poms can’t overcome its weaknesses. It doesn’t matter how much we want movies with older actors. If the film offers audiences no laughs and disjointed scenes, great actors of any age can’t overcome the hurdles. It leaves us less than cheery.

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