It is a tale as old as time. A quartet of whimsical old ladies with a Tom Brady-shaped hole in their hearts head out on the adventure of a lifetime. Wacky, Billy Paul-related hijinks ensue, and the women have their chronic thirst for the GOAT quenched. The end.
That is as much of a review as this exceptionally strange film probably warrants. It is not very good, but not the worst film out there; reading that synopsis should have made that abundantly clear. This is a film which can endlessly fascinate.
This cast is essentially the Buckingham Palace of Hollywood royalty — Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno. Between these four ladies there are 5 Oscars, 2 Grammys, 12 Emmys and 2 Tonys. That is inconceivable. And yet, as rich with golden statuettes as they may be, each and every one of them are entirely game for any of the zany antics produced by director Kyle Marvin.
The film is as simple in execution as it seems in concept, though an appreciable amount of time is spent individually fleshing out the characters. Field plays the reluctant accomplice of the group, as she learns to shed her nerves and throw caution to the wind. Fonda plays to type as the most overtly sensual figure of the main cast. Tomlin is adorable, especially in her shared screen time with the titular Tom Brady. Moreno plays the film's most animated character with ease and wit.
The cast makes this script, not the other way around. It hurts to see four of the most talented, compelling figures in Hollywood history squandered on this lowest common denominator nonsense.
Brady and Rob Gronkowski also do their best with what they're given, which isn’t much. They each serve as little more than objects to be ogled at, the subjects of often uncomfortably sexual desires. It is refreshing to see how clearly hot for Brady these women are, a nice subversion to the age-old trope of women beyond sixty as little more than wells of motherly tenderness.
With the above positives laid out, it truly is a shame to report that by all measures beyond the talent on screen, “80 for Brady” comes up well short of the endzone.
The story, immediately intriguing as it may be, fails to act as anything more than a point A to point B affair, only serving to put the ladies in totally outlandish circumstances in service of the occasional cheap laugh.
The ladies start at home, each receiving their brief introductions, before then being whisked away to the stadium parking lot, where they have some brief, if enjoyable interactions with fans, playing up the fish-out-of-water element of the plot. Then they maneuver about the stadium in hopes of accessing the locker rooms. These plot points are unmotivated, as if occurring only so they can find themselves at the next comedic set piece.
The celebrity cameos grow tiring after a while. In the year 2023, one wouldn’t expect to have to dock points from a film for how much Guy Fieri appears, but alas, here we are. The appeal is obvious: have a film chock-full of huge names, utilize brief appearances to feature the most people. Eventually it feels more like a runway, which stars ushered down, showed off and perhaps given a line or two, before then promptly being sent back to their dressing rooms.
It is a true testament to how truly gifted these four women are that this film is at all watchable. They are geysers of charisma and manage something almost charming out of what would otherwise be an unwatchable doldrum of a film.
“80 for Brady” receives a 4/10. I cannot in good conscience recommend you actively watch this film, but if you find yourself doing so, there are certainly worse ways to kill 90 minutes.