Moving Pictures
Feb 01, 2023, 06:27AM

Gray Brady Ladies

80 for Brady is a bizarre vehicle spearheaded by someone in Tom Brady's organization.

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Why did Tom Brady have to produce a movie about four ladies around 80 who are fans of his, and their trip to watch him in Super Bowl LI? Why couldn't he just put himself in a movie with Bugs Bunny, like a normal superstar athlete? It's 80 For Brady, arriving on the off-weekend before the real Super Bowl, and featuring four women—Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno. Amid various personal crises large and small, the group decides to travel to Houston for 2017's Super Bowl—the one where Brady led the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.

The film was based, very loosely, on a real group of elderly women who were Brady fans; it turns out one of them had a grandson who "works in Hollywood" and pitched the idea to Brady's production outfit. The film's novel of erotica featuring then-Patriot Rob Gronkowski is a real thing as well, although its author, I gather, wasn’t part of the real-life octogenarian group. 80 For Brady offers some charm, most of which comes from those leading actresses. In fact, their press tour promoting the film has been more entertaining than the associated movie.

The comedy is hacky and obvious, and the plotting even worse, with every complexity solved with one magical deus ex machina after another. It also combines several of the most well-worn comedy movie devices, including old people walking slowly, old people dancing, and old people getting stoned, complete with a hallucination sequence. The characters all suddenly get specialized skills, whether it's spicy wing-eating or poker acumen, whenever the plot requires it.

Ultimately, 80 For Brady is an extended commercial for Tom Brady, the NFL, and the idea of how off-the-charts fun it must be to attend Super Bowl weekend. It's also meant to demonstrate the popularity of the NFL, far beyond its more traditional demographics. The charm of the leads, including Fonda in full sexpot mode at 85, doesn't extend to the supporting cast. There are numerous cameos from the celebrity and NFL worlds, including more Guy Fieri than you were probably expecting. Harry Hamlin plays an ex-NFL star who romances Fonda; Hamlin at this point looks like he could be Tom Brady's dad.

A running commentary by a Boston sports media duo, played by Alex Moffatt and Rob Corddry with ludicrous regional accents, is the worst thing about the movie. It's annoying and tiresome, and makes no sense that they're a seemingly a video podcast and also in-game commentators, and leaves great opportunities for satire on the table. Why not make them direct parodies of Bill Simmons, Dave Portnoy, or some other Boston-associated media figure?

The film was directed by Kyle Marvin, who co-starred in and produced a fantastic 2019 movie called The Climb, but there's very little evidence of that movie's wit and voice here. Tom Brady, as of now, is the oldest player in the NFL, and even after a brief retirement about a year ago, he appears set to return next year at 46. In 80 For Brady, he's found co-stars who are 30 years older than him.

80 For Brady is part of the media blitz, also featuring the recent career-spanning documentary series, that was meant to coincide with Brady's graceful exit from the NFL. He also gets a long, earnest monologue, which indicates that Brady likely doesn't have much of a future as an either a comedic or dramatic actor. At least he's got that 10-year, $375 million broadcasting deal to fall back on.


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