80 for Brady

Peter Malone MSC 2 May 2023

A group of old ladies (their term) are devoted fans of the Boston Patriots and decide that a life’s ambition would be to go to the Super Bowl. They do – but with all kinds of comic adventures.

80 FOR BRADY, US, 2023. Starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Sally Field, Tom Brady, Billy Porter, Harry Hamlin, Guy Fieri. Directed by Kyle Rogers. 98 miniutes. Rated M (Coarse language).

80 for Brady is emblazoned on the back of the NFL jerseys (hoping this is the correct term) worn by four friends who have been following the Boston Patriots players, especially, Tom Brady, for 16 years. They gather around their television, go through a ritual of spilling tea, throwing crisps, which they think will influence the team to win. But, the main thing is that they are all 80 plus or minus. In fact, of the four stars, Rita Moreno was 90 at time of filming, Jane Fonda 85, Lily Tomlin 83, and Sally Field a mere 76 (and continually reminding her friends that she is still in her 70s.)

This is a very American film, with very American football (men piling on top of each other as the remark), culminating in the annual Super Bowl. For many audiences outside the US, the action is bit alien, and a bit hard to share the enthusiasm of the octogenarian fans. However, it is the stars that we are eager to see (that is older cinemagoers who remember these top actresses from their career highlights. Rita Moreno won her Oscar for West Side Story in 1961; Jane Fonda made her movie debut in 1960, Tall Story; Lily Tomlin from Laugh-In the late 1960s; and Sally Field was the Flying Nun in the mid-1960s).

Tom Brady, who produced as well as appearing in the movie, along with his fellow champions, is a hero in America, though Australian audiences may well have to Google.

You would have to be a sourpuss not to enjoy the antics as the old ladies (their reference to themselves) try to win tickets to go to the Super Bowl in Houston, find themselves caught up in all the fanfare and the competitions. [Betty (Field) wins the spiced chicken marathon catered by TV chef Guy Fieri; Maura (Moreno) wins thousands at poker only to find that it is a charity game; Trish (Fonda) reads from one of her erotic novels to adoring readers; while Lou (Tomlin), with her cancer diagnosis, urges them on for their last hurrah.]

Most of the drama, in fact, concerns losing the tickets and some unexpected dire consequences – but, the day is always saved.

Depending on your sense of humour, this is a film that you will laugh at or, perhaps, just smile at. The screenwriters try to pile in all the jokes and stereotypes they can, but it is all in cheerful mood.

It is not being disrespectful to advise that, as the octogenarians might say, this is a film to take your grandmothers to. Of course, the grandmothers might have beaten you to it and seen it already.


Released 27 April



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