‘80 for Brady’: Tomlin, Fonda, Field and Moreno Are a Fun Foursome in Super Bowl Comedy
While some older women prefer to bond over low-key activities like knitting, shuffleboard, and mall walking, the fierce foursome in the comedy “80 for Brady,” played by screen legends Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Rita Moreno, have a very different hobby. NFL star Tom Brady is the unlikely object of their obsession, so much so that after he leads the New England Patriots to the 2017 Super Bowl, the gal pals decide to take a little late-in-life adventure, and the result is a PG-13 “Girls Trip” for the senior set.
Tomlin is the ringleader of sorts here as Lou, a cancer survivor who first got into football 16 years prior while going through chemo. While she’s resting, her friends Trish (Fonda), Maura (Moreno) and Betty (Field) switch on the TV, and they all end up falling for a handsome young quarterback named Tom Brady. Flash forward to 2017, and the four of them are Brady’s biggest fans, living for their regular gamewatches. The viewer gets some glimpses of other parts of the women’s lives. Trish is a former model who is still very sexual, both in real life and in the football fan fiction she writes. Maura, a recent widow, has prematurely moved into a retirement home. Betty is a retired mathematics professor with a needy husband, fellow academic, Mark (Bob Balaban). All we really learn about Lou is that she has a daughter, Sara (Sara Gilbert).
But the film is not called “80 for Brady” for nothing, and the ladies’ determination to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl in person is the driving force throughout the story. Lou leads the charge, and after she wins the tickets in a contest put on by a pair of oddball commentators (Alex Moffat, Rob Corddry), it is just the beginning of a bumpy ride for the quartet. After traveling from Boston to Houston, they experience a string of mishaps, including Betty losing her fanny pack containing the tickets during a spicy wing-eating contest, and the goal post keeps moving from there. Director Kyle Marvin, along with writers Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, does not go easy on these ladies on account of their age, and there are plenty of twists and wrenches thrown in their way. Then there’s the game itself, which, for those who remember, was a nail-biter.
But this is a lighthearted film that does not take itself too seriously, and appearances from Harry Hamlin, Billy Porter, Guy Fieri, and the man himself, Mr. Brady, make this a fun comedy that even inspires the warm fuzzies at times. Although “80 for Brady” is more about celebrating female friendship than sports, and one does not have to care or be knowledgeable about football to enjoy it, and Marvin, Haskins and Halpern do get to the heart of why people love sports and why fandoms exist. Brady’s star may have dimmed a little since 2017, but rooting for someone like him and a team like the Patriots brings friends together, turns strangers into buds, and strengthens feelings of community in towns like Boston. Also, living for the next big game can literally be the thing that keeps someone like Lou going strong.
“80 for Brady” releases Feb. 3 in theaters nationwide.