Movie Review: 80 For Brady

In 2001, Lou (Lily Tomlin) has just completed chemotherapy and is cancer-free. Her friends Trish (Jane Fonda), Betty (Sally Field), and Maura (Rita Moreno) all gather at her house to celebrate but the TV becomes stuck on a New England Patriots game. When a young Tom Brady first makes an appearance on the field the quartet find themselves drawn in by his dashing good looks and end up actually enjoying the game. Sixteen years later they are now die-hard Pats fans and are once again gathered at Lou’s house watching on TV as the team wins the AFC Championship. They begin to plan a Super Bowl party when Lou suggests that instead they make the trip to Houston to watch the game in person. The friends initially protest that they can’t afford it, but then a commercial appears on the screen featuring local sports radio commentators Nat (Alex Moffat) and Pat (Rob Corddry) declaring that whoever calls in with the best personal story will win 4 tickets to the big game, setting the ladies on a quest to win.

Anyone who’s seen the trailers, or ever even watched any movies at all, will be able to guess that they win and promptly head off to Texas, with only a slight bump or two on the way. Once there they set about making the most of the trip and stumble into a variety of predictable but amusing misadventures, ranging from a football-throwing competition, to a hot wing-eating contest hosted by Guy Fieri, to 3 of the 4 accidentally eating too many edibles at a swanky party. Nearly every gag and plot development can be seen coming from a mile away, but the charm of the 4 leads and the unusually strong supporting cast help carry things buoyantly along. Not much is really asked of our leading ladies, but they all have excellent comic timing and seem to actually enjoy spending time together which really helps to sell the story.

A lot of convenient plot contrivances are required to set up the bigger comic set-pieces, but they are all enjoyably fun enough that it’s easy to overlook. It’s unfortunate though that there aren’t at least one or two more of them, as there are a few stretches where things begin to drag. The whole movie can feel a bit like a lengthy commercial for the NFL, especially once the actual game gets underway, but it’s difficult not to like it in the moment. There are great messages about female friendship and living life to the fullest no matter your age, and it’s so hard not to get wrapped up in the outcome of the game (even knowing how it plays out) that the purely uplifting ending is nearly impossible to resist. 80 For Brady may not score a touchdown, but it at least lands a solid field goal. ★★★

rated pg-13 for brief strong language, some drug content, and some suggestive references.

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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