Movie review / ‘Poms’ (M)

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“Poms”  (M) ** and a half

l DON’T quite understand why this movie is called “Poms”.

And I wish could have found it in me to give the full three stars to writer (in conjunction with Shane Atkinson) and feature film debut director (after a TV career in various genres) Zara Hayes’ little movie about women no longer young who, to reject life’s sameness in a retirement village, form a cheer-leading squad.

Diane Keaton plays Martha, an unmarried former teacher who decides to escape retirement’s boredom by buying a unit in a Georgia retirement village where life is rather different from the wider community. Relief comes when atta-girl neighbour Sheryl (Jacki Weaver justifiably making the big time in Hollywood), accidentally learns that at secondary school, Martha had been in a cheerleader squad but for family reasons dropped out on the eve of a big game.

From there, the film’s dramatic mixture follows a humdrum path. Village management puts obstacles in Martha and Sheryl’s path. A mixed coterie of residents tries out and gets selected. They perform in a local cheerleaders’ contest (yikes!) at which acrobatic young competitors pile scorn on them. Martha has health problems. A teenaged cheerleader becomes their coach. They compete again and are a hit with some new moves that take on all over the country.

Spoiler Alert: Martha’s ashes get sprinkled in space by an imaginative funeral director.

Elsewhere, life goes on. Like the film – same old, same old.

At all cinemas

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“Poms” (M) ** and a half
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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