As entertainment goes, 80 FOR BRADY is a better than usual start to 2023. Showcasing the comedic talents of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field, director Kyle Marvin and screenwriters Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern have taken the true story of four women of a certain age traveling to the Super Bowl to see their favorite player, Tom Brady, and turned it into a delightful movie.
The four friends, Lou (Tomlin), Trish (Fonda), Maura (Moreno) and Betty (Field) gathered years before 2017 to aid in Lou’s recuperation from chemotherapy. The only station on Lou’s TV was showing a New England Patriots game. At first disappointed, then quickly mesmerized by the handsome rookie quarterback, Brady, watching every time the Patriots played soon became a ritual. Before each contest everything had to be exactly the same as that very first time, right down to flipping a bowl of chips.
Fast forward to 2017, the Patriots are in Super Bowl LI with Brady at the helm again, and Lou decides their foursome must head to Houston for the event. Two local sports nerds, Pat (Rob Corddry) and Nat (Alex Moffat), who have their own talk show, run a contest giving away tickets to the game. To win, you must have a powerful story to tell so Lou informs her buddies that hers came out on top.
Arriving for the big game in matching 80 for Brady blinged out jerseys, things don’t go quite as planned. Trish, who’s trying very hard not to fall in love again, meets Dan (Harry Hamlin), a former football player, and Lou, who is obsessed with not losing the tickets, entrusts them to Betty. Unfortunately, she promptly misplaces them during a hot wings eating contest hosted by Guy Fieri. But no matter, Gugu (Billy Porter), who’s choreographing the halftime show, comes to the rescue.
If it all sounds a little silly, it is --- but that’s not a bad thing. 80 FOR BRADY is truly fun and engaging. And thankfully there’s no disgusting bathroom humor, just some jokes that may be a tad condescending, but not off putting. The four female stars are wonderful --- and up to the task of making sure everyone in the theater has a good time.
If you’ve been a fan of “Grace and Frankie”, you’ll love seeing the two friends, Tomlin and Fonda, reunited. They’re so great together. Moreno is a hoot --- impossible to believe she’s 91. And Field is hilarious chomping on those hot wings, then “negging” a young cutie into falling for her.
And though I’ve never been a fan, Brady is quite likeable. He does a nice job, particularly in his scenes with Tomlin. It’s truly encouraging to watch a movie about four old broads and know that it will be a huge success!
Opinion: See It Now!
80 FOR BRADY is definitely not a film for everybody, and by everybody, I mean fans of the Atlanta Falcons. In Super Bowl LI in 2017 the Falcons led the New England Patriots, quarterbacked by Tom Brady, 28-3 with a few minutes left in the third quarter. But the Pats roared back with 31 unanswered points to win the championship, much to the chagrin of Atlanta fans.
But 80 FOR BRADY is surely a crowd pleaser that the rest of the world can enjoy. With A-listers like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno and Sally Field portraying the real-life octogenarians on whom the film is based, what’s not to like??
Co-written by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, who collaborated on BOOKSMART (2019), their writing in 80 FOR BRADY is mature, perhaps occasionally silly, but on a par with the talents of the leading ladies. And Brady, while not in a large role here, distinguishes himself well enough for a possible career as an actor. His scene with Tomlin’s character sharing his gratitude for her inspirational influence on him is surprisingly poignant --- even tear inducing.
First-time movie director Kyle Marvin deserves plaudits for getting his stars to be funny without being over the top. The foursome is superstitious to a fault, but their antics are hilarious. Whether climbing on a ladder in front of the TV or deliberately spilling a big bowl of chips, Lou (Tomlin), Trish (Fonda), Maura (Moreno) and Betty (Field) provide enough laughs to make this Super Bowl memory a winner.
Betty has an extended scenario with Guy Fieri when she enters a hot sauce and chicken wing eating contest. Trish displays a variety of wigs that make the fabulous Fonda look even younger. catching the eye of former NFL player Dan (Harry Hamlin). And Moreno’s character ingests a sleeping pill at the wrong time leading to comic results.
Supporting work from Glynn Turman, Bob Balaban and Sarah Gilbert add to the fun, while former wide receivers Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola deliver their lines like pros. Billy Porter is perfectly cast as a choreographer named Gugu and former SNL comic Alex Moffat, along with Rob Corddry, are a pair of Boston-accented TV sports hosts named Nat and Pat --- too funny!
The pulse-pounding score by Oscar nominee John Debney and superb editing by Colin Patton make the Patriots’ remarkable comeback fascinating to experience on the big screen. 80 FOR BRADY is a film that will find its way into America’s living rooms for years to come.
Opinion: See It Now!