There’s a cloud hanging over this mostly entertaining film, and it’s Tom Brady… the G.O.A.T., the seven-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback, the pride of the New England Patriots and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who, at the ripe old age of 45 keeps on kicking (or throwing) in the NFL. The Brady mystique would easily have carried this film over the goal line–if he hadn’t just failed to make the playoffs, and failed at his marriage. Timing is everything or at least, in the world of movies and marketing, something.
So let’s put our personal feelings about Tom Brady aside and focus on the movie’s real winning team: Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field. Four iconic women “of a certain age”–with 12 Oscar noms between them–who use their ageless wit, sex appeal and acting chops to elevate a raucous romp that is more about friendship than football.
The women play longtime best friends, most in their 80s, who’ve been getting together for years to watch their hero Tom Brady in action – on TV. Until the 2017 Super Bowl. The group’s ringleader Lou (Tomlin) convinces her gal pals Trish (Fonda), Maura (Moreno) and Betty (Field) that time is short, and they need to attend the big game in person.
Let the mayhem ensue.
The women secure tickets, pack up their custom “80 for Brady” jerseys, and head to Houston. They go all-in on the “NFL Experience” and other pre-game festivities… and proceed to lose said tickets. As they mull over what it all means to their friendship, they hobnob with the likes of Guy Fierei, Billy Porter, and a former football player (Harry Hamlin) who takes a shine to Fonda’s character. And as game time approaches, they pray for a Hail Mary.
Tom Brady himself appears in the movie, and serves as a producer. He enlisted other members of the 2017 New England Patriots–Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola–to appear in the film, which recounts one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history, against the Atlanta Falcons. In this version of events, the final score remains the same, but how they get there is subject to some major “dramatic license.”
80 For Brady is inspired by a true story. There really was an “Over 80 for Brady fan club” made up of a group of aging friends who deemed themselves Brady superfans and got together weekly for football watch parties. That’s probably where the “true” part ends; such is the Hollywood way. The screenplay was written by Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern who penned the pretty awesome 2019 teen comedy Booksmart.
Bottom line: If you keep your expectations in check, it’s a good bet you’ll enjoy 80 for Brady, a feel-good film that’s poignant as well as funny. It’s about making lasting memories with your friends, at any age, to which I say… “GIRLS TRIP!!!!!”
80 for Brady hits theaters on Feb. 3.