Best friends getting into the best kind of trouble.
80 for Brady is a 2023 sports comedy film directed by Kyle Marvin, written by Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, produced by 199 Productions, Fifth Season, Watch This Ready, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It's inspired by a true story. The film stars Lily Tomlin and Sally Field.
"We're going to the Super Bowl!" - Lou
After the New England Patriots advance to the Super Bowl, a group of four senior citizens and female friends decide to take a trip to Houston to watch Tom Brady play in the big game.
80 for Brady has a few things going for it.
Let's start with the obvious: watching Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, and Rita Moreno on screen together is just tons of fun. No matter what they are in together, watching these stars all come together for a comedy movie is going to be entertaining. Lily Tomlin has always been a comedic icon, so she brings the humor, but you also have the addition of three Oscar-winning actresses with Field, Fonda, and Moreno. While all four of them are really, really good in this movie, the standout for me was Moreno. I had no clue that she had comedic muscles, but she definitely does. But, as I said before, it's just fun to see these four leading ladies together. That’s what makes this movie.
The other major thing that I personally enjoyed is the blend of comedy with the NFL. For those of you that don't know (which you probably don't), I'm an enormous football fan. While my home team, the Detroit Lions, aren't always the best, I never miss a game. I watch the Super Bowl every year, so it was fun to see these women experience Super Bowl LI knowing what's going to happen. The NFL references and cameos were also hilarious. If you are a football fan, you will get something out of this movie.
The movie also has this wholesome edge to it that made it really consumable. How can you not love these four old women trying to get into the Super Bowl to watch Tom Brady? It's such a happy, fun concept that works really well. There's a charm to a story like that, and it's told with all of the innocence that you'd expect.
While I may not have a ton of positives, it's not always about the numbers. This movie is fun. It's entertaining. If you like these actresses, you'll probably get something out of this movie. If you like football, you'll also probably get something out of this movie.
However, 80 for Brady isn't exactly a great movie.
Everything you'd expect to be good about this movie is. It has funny moments. The four central characters are great. But that's the surface. And it doesn't get much deeper than that.
The movie knows it's silly, but it also takes itself very seriously at times. There's a specific plot point involving Lily Tomlin's character that's extremely dark and sad. They use it as a major piece of her character, and it just takes away from the light-hearted nature of this film. In the interest of not spoiling the film, I won’t go into specifics, but they use it in the finale to give another character motivation to do something important. If you've seen the film, you know what I'm talking about. This scene is using something real and something traumatizing for so many people. They’ve acknowledged that it’s traumatizing for Lily Tomlin’s character. Yet, in the finale, they play it as this silly plot point in this silly movie. I was not a fan of that.
While I do praise the blend of the NFL and the comedy from our four leading ladies, I find myself in a very unique situation. I'm a sixteen-year-old movie critic, so I know and love these four actresses, but I also know and love football. There are very few people who know and love these four actresses and also know and love football. They are on such opposite sides of the spectrum. For example, I took both of my grandmas to see this movie with me. They love these four actresses, but they don't know as much about football, so they didn't get all of the NFL jokes and references. If I took one of my friends to go see this movie, they wouldn't enjoy anything besides the NFL jokes and references. Because of that aspect, it's unclear who the target audience is.
The movie also gets a little bit ridiculous at times. The way that the girls get into the Super Bowl is kind of dumb. What they do at the Super Bowl is even dumber. It claims it's based off of a true story, which it is to some extent. The first half of the film is relatively believable, but by the time you reach the end, you know that this is almost entirely fictional.
I also thought that the film really becomes a slog when the ladies actually start to watch the Super Bowl. The movie uses the actual Super Bowl LI game as the backdrop for the story, so the last twenty minutes is all just going through Super Bowl LI. I watched Super Bowl LI in 2017. I know what happens. And those who didn’t watch Super Bowl LI likely weren’t interested in it, so why would it be interesting now? It isn't doing anything new or different to go through it. It basically just shows highlights of the game for twenty minutes. It's awful.
Finally, this movie is predictable to a T. Especially near the end, you just can predict exactly what's going to happen. It's so obvious. There's no diversions or red herrings that the screenwriters put in to make it less obvious. It's just bad storytelling. The setup and payoffs are all there, but they don't work when they are predictable.
Final Thoughts and Score
80 for Brady is a fun comedy...and not much more than that. See it if you are a big fan of these four actresses. I enjoy them, but they can’t save a movie with a bad plot and some really, really frustrating elements.
I have to go Sour here. Age range is 7+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
"80 for Brady"
Fun Factor: 7/10
Directed by Kyle Marvin
Rated PG-13 for language, suggestive material, thematic elements
Released on February 3, 2023
1 hour and 38 minutes
Lily Tomlin as Lou
Sally Field as Betty
Rita Moreno as Maura
Jane Fonda as Trish
Harry Hamlin as Dan O'Callahan
Tom Brady as Tom Brady
Guy Fieri as Guy Fieri
Billy Porter as Gugu
Rob Corddry as Pats Nation Host
Alex Moffat as Pats Nation Co-Host