By Jack McLaughlin
Admittedly, “80 For Brady” was certainly not something that I was expecting to give a review like this but life is full of exciting curveballs.
Lou (Lily Tomlin), Maura (Rita Moreno), Betty (Sally Field), and Trish (Jane Fonda) are lifelong friends and Patriots fans who decide to spice up their tradition of watching the game every week to travel to Houston for Super Bowl LI.
With a lineup as powerful as this, it is no surprise that the best element of this comedy is the cast.
Through a series of delightful antics, this lovable group of friends will steal the hearts of viewers with enough excitement that even someone who doesn’t care to watch football will find themselves having a blast.
A necessary element for a film like this is a cast that has good chemistry. The first scene of the group partaking in superstitious activities in a charming effort to give good luck to the Pats will have viewers immediately engaged with their relationship.
The group’s energy never dies either. Even in the sequence where they are separated at the NFL Experience, which allows each character to have something interesting to do that may not progress the story further but lets each person grow.
For viewers who only have surface-level knowledge of the Pats, like myself, you will still find the jokes about the team hysterical.
One of the best running gags in the film involves Trish, who writes romantic novels fantasizing about Rob Gronkowski. This bit has a fantastic payoff at the end, involving a hilarious cameo from the player.
The GOAT himself, Tom Brady, also makes an equally hilarious apperance toward the end. His scenes with Lou are a riot and left the theater in hysterics as they played out.
The cameos are a mix of unsurprising and completely out of left field. One of these is Guy Fieri’s appearance, who is responsible for the hot wing challenge that Betty participates in. His scenes don’t add a lot to the overall story, and his inclusion here feels like it was forced in simply because they were able to fit him into the cast.
But the core of “80 For Brady” isn’t glorified cameos from Pats players or celebrities - its main focus is the central cast and this film packs a surprising amount of heart when focusing on them.
Something the characters bring up a lot is their age - they’re all over 80 - and this heavily factored into their decision to go to the game as a group.
This kind of internal conflict about your age is something that will resonate stronger with viewers older than I am, but it’s effective enough to be appreciated by a younger audience as well.
This mindset gives this trip the main characters are taking as a sendoff of sorts, the last chance for them to do something extravagant and exciting before old age takes a heavier toll on them.
Despite not having a lot of time to set up each character, the film effectively uses its runtime to do it as best as possible and the result allows for this trip to be emotionally resonant.
Setting up the main story with these emotional beats force the audience to desperately see everything work out for them in the end.
Their trip takes a series of unexpected and sometimes crushing turns, but they never give up and it’s endearing to see this kind of dedication for seeing their favorite team compete.
“80 For Brady” is absolutely something made with the mindset this is going to be seen by an audience primarily made up of New England viewers.
As someone who isn’t a Patriots fan, there was so much to love about this comedy and the bias of being from this region factored into that a lot.
Venture outside of your comfort zone for movies and give “80 For Brady” a shot. It’s one of the best surprises in recent memory.
A- : A touchdown!