Paramount Pictures
80 For Brady

USA, 2023, Dir. Kyle Marvin, 98 minutes

Sound Dolby Digital,, Aspect 1.85 : 1 widescreen

Reviewer John Jane

Even if you haven’t watched an NFL football game in a dozen years, you would not have escaped hearing about the heroic exploits of the much retired star quarterback Tom Brady who led New England Patriots for twenty seasons before moving to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 43.

Kyle Marvin’s rambunctious sports comedy, however, is not about the durable Mr. Brady. Sure, it’s his name in the film’s title and he does have a prominent cameo role, but he is really the subject of fan worship of four gals older enough to know better. The four elderly women: Lou, Trish, Maura and Betty are played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field respectively who actually have an aggregate age of 335 years (Moreno being the oldest at 91). Lou decides it’s the right time to attend the next one inside the stadium. The film then follows the quartet as they embark on a series of misadventures that test their friendship, yet ultimately bring them even closer together.

Marvin’s film is essentially fictional, yet inspired by two actual events: The 2017 Super Bowl game that took place in Houston, Texas between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons and the existence of a Massachusetts fan club known as “Over 80 for Brady” which comprised of a group of widows with the common passion of watching Patriots’ games on TV and
After years of watching previous Super Bowl games on television always resplendent in identical replica jerseys.

The film is very much an ensemble work with the four protagonists having more or less equal screen time and showing natural chemistry between them. Among the supporting cast, Bob Balaban brilliantly underplays Betty’s hopelessly dependant husband and Billy Porter is appropriately outrageous as Gugu. Watch out for Tom Brady’s former teammates Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman who appear as themselves.

Kyle Marvin’s direction rarely misses a beat and John Toll’s cinematography is positively captivating.

© 2023 John Jane