POMS – Review by Susan Granger

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Apparently based on a true story, this is a gentle dramedy, aimed at the AARP demographic, about making the most of the time you have left.

After a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Martha (Diane Keaton) is determined to quit chemotherapy and leave New York City. She’s sold most of her possessions, loaded the rest into her car, and is driving south to spend her remaining months in Sun Springs, a spacious retirement village in Georgia.

“I came here to die,” Martha crisply informs her sassy, Southern Belle neighbor, Sheryl (Jackie Weaver), a substitute teacher who’s hiding her teenage grandson, Ben (Charlie Tahan), in the ‘adults-only’ condominium complex.

Sheryl retorts: “You’re dying today. You will be dying next week. In between, you should be dancing your ass off!”

Exasperated by Sun Springs’ arbitrary rules and regulations, Martha recalls a youthful dream by starting a Cheerleading Club, much to the consternation of prissy, power-hungry Vicki (Celia Weston).

Joining their gyrating granny ensemble are timid Rhea Perlman, sultry Pam Grier, dancer Patricia French, aerobics-expert Carol Sutton, yoga-enthusiast Ginny MacColl, and baton-twirling Phyllis Sommerville.

Plus there’s Chloe (Alisha Boe), the teenager they recruit to coach them. Think age-defying Golden Girls meets Bring it On.

Too bad Shane Atkinson’s contrived script is blandly bittersweet and so one-dimensional that none of the characters have significant backstories. That shallowness obviously hinders the pacing by British documentary director Zara Hayes, who shares story credit and is tackling her first fictional feature.

Issues of ageism, self-image and empowerment are only briefly touched on.

FYI: Curiously, Poms garnered the best publicity possible when – in a recent interview – Anjelica Huston disdainfully referred to the “an old-lady cheerleader movie,” calling such roles “apologetically humble and humiliating,” inciting the expletive wrath of outspoken Jacki Weaver.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Poms is a simplistic, yet spirited 7 – thanks to Diane Keaton.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.