80 FOR BRADY: 2 ½ STARS. “a firehose spray of sentimentality.”
I guess it is fitting that a team of movie MVPs would band together to tell a story about the greatest football quarterback of all time. It’s just too bad the movie, “80 for Brady,” now playing on theatres, is a bit of a fumble.
Based on a true story, the movie is first and foremost, the tale of the deep bond between football fans, octogenarians Lou (Lily Tomlin), Trish (Jane Fonda), Maura (Rita Moreno), and septuagenarian Betty (Sally Field). The lifelong friends discover football, or more specifically, one footballer, in 2001 when Lou’s television remote broke, leaving the channel stuck on a New England Patriots game.
When the quartet laid eyes on quarterback Tom Brady, they were smitten. “What a beautiful man,” says Trish. “So hydrated,” adds Maura.
Sixteen years later, as the Patriots prepare to take on the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl LI, the four fans plan their ultimate get-a-way after winning two pairs of Super Bowl tickets from a local sports call-in show.
“We’re going to the Super Bowl to enjoy men the way the ancient Romans did,” says Lou. “Sweaty and on top of one another in tight pants.”
When it looks like the Patriots are down for the count, Lou, Trish, Maura and Betty, in their bedazzled Brady jerseys, spring into action, providing some much-needed moral support.
“80 for Brady” is a mawkish movie, a firehose spray of sentimentality and easy platitudes. it’s a testament to the collective buddy charisma of the leads that it works as well as it does. The characters may be clichés come to life but without the cast, much of the film’s humour would be as deflated as the footballs used at the 2014 AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts. Tomlin, Fonda), Moreno and Field’s combined 250 years of on-screen experience breathe life into several showcase scenes.
Moreno earns a laugh or two playing hardball with a scalper and a hot wing eating contest gives Field a chance to heat things up amid the movie’s well-intentioned but overbearingly cheerful bromides.
“80 for Brady” aims to lift up the audience, to inspire, but only in the most superficial ways. There is more edge on any single episode of “Golden Girls” than in the entire running time of this ode to friendship and football.