SHAKE IT: Rhea Pearlman, Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver play members of a retirement community who start a cheerleading squad.


  • Comedy; Cert PG, contains coarse language and sexual references; 1hr 30mins
  • Starring: Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Charlie Tahan, Alisha Boe, Celia Weston, Rhea Perlman, Bruce McGill and Phyllis Somerville
  • Director: Zara Hayes

NO, it’s not a film about English people.

Poms is short for pompoms, of the American cheerleading variety.

Diane Keaton plays Martha, who leads a bunch of women from her fancy retirement community astray in this comedy about old people defying societal norms to follow their passion.

It’s not her best work and a pretty big step down from Annie Hall – and even from the Father of the Bride films.

If I was being kind I might say the film suffered from a little cultural dissonance. Becoming a cheerleader is an aspirational goal specific to teenage girls in the United States.

Not only do I fail to understand why cheerleading would mean so much to a group of mature women, but I also can’t get my head around why anyone would object to these characters having a little fun and exercise in their senior years.

I suspect the objections on the part of the film’s protagonists stem mostly from the screenwriter’s desperation to create some sort of conflict for the story.

Comedy-wise, most of the heavy lifting falls to Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playlist). Weaver does a great job as Martha’s boisterous neighbour Sheryl, who befriends the new retirement village resident despite her rude and unfriendly behaviour.

This film brings together some terrific veteran character actresses including Rhea Perlman (Cheers), Pam Grier (Jacki Brown), Celia Weston (The Talented Mr Ripley), Carol Sutton (The Help) and Phyllis Somerville (Benjamin Button), so it’s a shame it isn’t better.

The youth element is carried by Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why) and Charlie Tahan (Ozark).