As with many movies casting older ladies or gentlemen, I always wonder if great actors are going to be relegated to a barrage of bathroom humor, sex jokes and “flipping the bird.” You know what I mean. Actors who do such movies end up being hilarious in most cases, yet don’t get to show us what made them such great performers in the first place.
This is what I expected when I went to see POMS, which opened in theaters Friday. The movie stars Diane Keaton as retired school teacher Martha, who has decided to move to a retirement community and soon starts a cheer team for older ladies. Her neighbor and founding member of the “cheer club” is Sheryl, played by Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) who helps Martha audition an eclectic group of ladies, including Pam Grier (Jackie Brown) and Rhea Perlman (Cheers). The cheer team sets off to compete and show everyone they aren’t just a bunch of old gals who can’t get around.
As with any movie of this sort, the actresses aren’t necessarily given enough to do in 90 minutes. Yet, we still see some good stuff from each of them. Each lady gets her moment in the spotlight during their audition, which is hilarious. Celia Weston, known to many of us as “Jolene” from the TV show “Alice,” has a funny turn as the retirement village busybody. I also loved Dorothy Steel, who plays deputy Doris. It should be noted that Steel began her acting career at age 88.
I was pleased with this movie, overall. There were some laugh-out-loud moments, usually supplied by Weaver, who is the village rebel and jezebel. Keaton is still the quirky and comfortable person we’ve always loved; and no matter the role, she brings class and finesse to the performance. Grier and Perlman are allowed to show some of the sparkle that made them great, as does the supporting cast.
Sure, there may be a few clichés and the story is largely predictable. However, audiences will be entertained and even a little moved with this tale. A movie that could have come off as hokey and stale ends up being an entertaining, neatly done piece of work. My grade: B
POMS is rated PG-13 for language and innuendo. It runs 1 hour, 31 minutes.