Movies

Poms is not much to cheer about

Gimme an L! Gimme an A! Gimme an M! Gimme an E! Whattaya got?

Lamé! You know, that shiny stuff in cheerleader costumes. Oh, wait; I didn’t say “Gimme an accent aigu,” did I?

You know what, though? Poms, co-written and directed by documentary filmmaker Zara Hayes, is pretty lame as well. It’s inoffensive, well-meaning and blissfully brief, but if you go in expecting more than a few mild chuckles, you’re coming out 90 minutes later with little to cheer about.

Diane Keaton stars as Martha, whose minimal backstory is that (A) she was almost a cheerleader in high school but had to drop out to care for her ailing mother, and (B) now she’s dying of cancer. That’s it – no friends, no relations, nothing to stop her selling everything she owns and moving from Manhattan to Sun Springs, a retirement community in Georgia.

“I’m just here to die,” she tells her new neighbours. They include resident horndog Sheryl (Jacki Weaver) and queen bee Vicki (Celia Weston), who’s got the whole town in her pocket, including security chief Carl (Bruce McGill).

Martha and Sheryl plan to start a cheerleading club, signing up a bunch of biddies played by Pam Grier, Rhea Perlman and other actors who have done much better work than this. The hitch is that nobody’s too limber anymore, but Hayes and co-writer Shane Atkinson plunder the ancient temple of plot devices and emerge with two training montages and a viral video to keep things moving.

The aged squad is also helped by Sheryl’s grandson Ben (Charlie Tahan), who knows how to run an iPod and all that other technical stuff. And they enter a competition, which conveniently has an “18-and-over” category that doesn’t specify how much older.

Do they triumph like those elderly singers in the documentary Young@Heart or the fictional Song for Marion? To find out you’ll have to watch the movie, though even with a seniors’ discount, it’s probably not worth the price of admission.

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