80 For Brady means well enough but never quite hits a touchdown with its boomer-humor play.

80 For Brady (2023) Review By Mark McPherson

Published on February 2, 2023

Rating 2 /5

80 For Brady is one of those one-wild-trip comedies that are not wild enough. It should be a fun adventure considering the fantastic ensemble of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field assembled for a silly and saccharine Super Bowl adventure. Sadly, the comedy falls flat in a film where most punchlines are old people salivating over Tom Brady.

Partially based on a true story, the story centers around Lou (Tomlin) and her quirky friends that have made watching the Patriots team a tradition. As the perfect inspiration after Lou’s cancer recovery, they all gather every Sunday for excitement around the television as they drink, cheer, and gush over Tom Brady. For Super Bowl LI (2017), Lou gets a great idea. Maybe they should go to the Super Bowl instead of watching it. Of course, there’s another reason for this spontaneous move, and you can probably sense it coming a mile away. After supposedly winning a Patriots fan contest, the women set off to the Super Bowl for an unlikely and meaningful adventure.

This story has many funny elements, but somehow they need to reach their potential. Trish (Fonda) is a horny writer who writes erotic fanfiction about her favorite players. Maura (Rita Moreno) is a woman with issues deciding whether to date again after her husband dies. Betty (Field) is a nerd with problems connecting with others beyond her analytical mindset. On their trip, they hallucinate Tom Brady talking to them, accidentally trip out on drugs, get involved in a hot-wing eating contest, hang around with Guy Fiery, stumble into poker games, and lose their tickets. The problem is that these humorous elements are presented as funny on their most basic levels, where all the funny stuff appears in the trailers.

I don’t find it in poor taste that the film wants to be this absurd with the source material of a true story, where a group of old women went to the Super Bowl. But if a film wants to whip this tale into something more, it needs to go further than it does here. The direction merely breezes through so many routine sequences. Of course, Betty will surprise everyone during the hot-wing competition by beating out all the young folks in the same way that Lou beats a dude at throwing footballs during an NFL fan event. But the absolute joke seems to be that they’re just extraordinary elders without much surprise in the punchline. And the few times there’s a decent punchline, it arrives too late. For example, Betty only later admits that she was lying about not being bothered by the hot wings. It’d be more fun if we watched her try to cleanse her palette quickly after winning instead of just having her outright state this admittance long past the gag.

80 For Brady means well enough but never quite hits a touchdown with its boomer-humor play. The film's best part is watching how easily these actresses can still work their stuff and how great they look together. The scene of all four walking down the stadium halls in their bedazzled jerseys is a charming shot. It’s enough to make one pine for a better script as they’re all too good for a film in which they passively stick to the lukewarm comedy-adventure playbook. A film with Moreno being so high she starts seeing everybody as Guy Fieri should be funnier.

Written By

Mark McPherson

Written By

Mark McPherson

Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.

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