Poms

Anjelica Huston, the amazing Oscar winning actress (who I haven’t seen since 50/50) ticked me off in an interview she did recently. She talked about how what Roman Polanski did wasn’t all that bad because older men dated younger women in the ‘70s. She mentioned a relationship she had with a 40-year-old director when she was 18. The problem with that logic is — she was an adult. Polanski was with a 13-year-old, and gave her drugs and alcohol, before raping her. He then fled the country before he was sentenced. Big difference. But it wasn’t that comment that got brilliant Australian actress (and two-time Oscar nominee) Jacki Weaver to tell her to “Go f*** herself.” Weaver responded that way because Huston made fun of her new movie Poms. After seeing the movie, I side with Huston on this one. It’s currently on my list as the worst movie of the year.

This film is filled with one-dimensional characters that at one point, my wife said seemed like they were mentally challenged.

The movie starts with Martha (Diane Keaton), telling her doctor she’s done with chemo treatments. She sells everything she has and leaves New York to go to the Sun Springs Active Retirement Community in Georgia. Apparently, this city gal didn’t realize how everyone would act here, and is surprised by all the waves and politeness. She’s encouraged to join one of the many clubs, or start her own. Since she finds an old cheerleading outfit, she starts a cheerleading group. Anybody that has seen Mean Girls or Bring it On, knows this can mean problems. It’s mostly a problem because a Southern belle (the very talented, and wasted Celia Weston), for some reason has a beef with this. She also gets Bruce McGill, who plays the security guard at the Community, to help harass them (he does have a few lines that are mildly humorous).

Martha has an annoying neighbor named Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), who walks into her house in the middle of the night, has loud poker games, and gets mad if you complain about the noise (didn’t we see that done so much better in Neighbors?). For some reason, if you complain about a loud poker party, that party is brought into your living room. Of course, the two become fast friends. I mean, who wouldn’t become friends with a woman that insists on taking you out to lunch for letting the poker gang show up — only to take you to a funeral for the free food (which she puts in bags and stuffs into her purse).

And who are the other cheerleaders that end up joining the crew? There’s Rhea Perlman, who used to be so great to see on screen. In this, she’s a widow who is given nothing to do (I think she has a line where she says her best feature is her wrists). There’s Pam Grier, who is looking more like Rosey Grier. Come on! She was Foxy Brown in 1974. And almost 25 years later, she was still beautiful as Jackie Brown in one of Tarantino’s best films. Now she’s standing around with pom-poms in her hand, adding nothing to this picture.

There’s a wheelchair bound baton twirler (Phyllis Somerville, who was so great in Diane a few months ago). And Sheryl has a grandson (Charlie Tahan) that lives with her, and of course, he’s going to get an opportunity to have a love interest.

That love interest would be a young cheerleader (Alisha Boe) that first embarrassed the granny’s, but then agreed to help them. The scene where she agrees to help them contained the only funny scene in the entire movie. She’s confronted by a few angry old ladies, and she starts crying, to which they immediately go into mom mode trying to console her.

This garbage was brought to us by documentarian Zara Hayes, who co-wrote the script with Shane Atkinson. Neither have a comedy background, and it shows. There was something on the movie poster about this being from the studio that brought us Bad Moms and the producer of Book Club. I hate to admit, as much as I thought I’d dislike Book Club, it was cute and actually worked. Yet my wife and I both agree — Diane Keaton’s quirky schtick has gotten old (no pun intended). In every interview, with her goofy hats, ties, outfits…and always with the hand gestures (which were often in this, even though they didn’t fit the character). At one point when Keaton was shaking her arms and hands everywhere, my wife asked, “Is she dying of cancer, or Parkinson’s?”

Look — we all loved Annie Hall. But it’s time for her to start picking better projects (or deal with the wrath of Huston).

I’m not against the patronizing nature of having old actors being humiliated with these characters, if the jokes are funny. Remember how great The Full Monty was? I even laughed enough at Lost Vegas (Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline).

The complaints I’ve had with this, I also had with the horrible Just Getting Started (Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones) a few years ago. You just need to write jokes that work. Having a character say “break a hip” instead of “break a leg” — doesn’t. Having the flirty woman of the bunch say, “I like poker and poking” — isn’t funny. I think one episode of Golden Girls had more laughs than this entire hour and a half movie.

This is the perfect movie to take your mom or grandmother to on Mother’s Day — if you hate them. Instead of them feeling good about celebrating their age, they’ll feel horrible about it.

At least the movie started with the great Carole King song “Bitter with the Sweet.” It’s a shame that this movie was never sweet, merely bitter.

0 stars.

 

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