80 for Brady

Respect these elders who love football.

It would be inevitable that the older folks would go see “80 for Brady,” because it’s led by some our best actresses-Jane Fonda, Rita Morena, Lily Tomlin, and Sally Field-and it’s a sports comedy about the Super Bowl. Is it predictable that these girls didn’t win the tickets on a podcast show? Yes. But is it, at least, a good comedy in terms of its surprising sweetness and honest tickles? Yes.

I would consider this movie to be in a genre I like to call: “The Golden Girls Genre.” It’s a shame Betty White didn’t make it to 100, but she came pretty close. A few years ago, we got “Book Club,” which starred Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as friends being turned on by the book “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The film version sucked to the point of me skipping its sequels, and that comedy was too tedious for me to read their characters.

“80 for Brady” is far cry from both versions of “West Side Story” or “Forrest Gump,” or anything iconic or exhilarating these actresses have been in, but it’s also miles ahead of “Book Club,” because it actually makes you care about these characters, and doesn’t force them to cater to the times or behaviors. You sympathize that Tomlin’s character Lou is a cancer survivor, you think it’s silly that Moreno’s Maura would take a sleeping pill by mistake in a retirement home at the worst possible time, you admire the speech Field’s Betty gives to her insecure husband (Bob Balaban), and you think it’s sharp when Fonda’s Trish is an “erotic fan fiction” novelist.

These four main characters have fallen in love with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady’s characteristics, that they dream of going to the Super Bowl, which none of them could afford. Unless, they win them on that podcast show. It would be obvious that Lou, somehow, bought their tickets, because if they did win the tickets, then they would have announced the winners on their show.

When they all get to Houston, they find themselves engaging in one activity after another, the kind of stuff that Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline engaged quite well in “Last Vegas.” You get Guy Fieri hosting a wing eating contest, you get Trish getting turned on by Harry Hamlin’s former NFL legend character Dan Callahan, you get these ladies high on drug-laced gummy bears, and you get a number of stars like Brady, Patton Oswalt, Billy Porter, Ron Funches, and Rob Gronkowski, among others, in the mix.

Besides the romance between Fonda and Hamlin, you also see some sweet potential between Moreno and Glynn Turman as another resident in her retirement home. He doesn’t want to be alone, but rather spend time with her. And he even helps her friends bust her out of the building, when she takes that sleeping pill, so they could catch their flight.

“80 for Brady” was directed by Kyle Marvin, who also wrote, produced, and acted in “The Climb.” That was an independent film with only a familiar face like George Wendt in a case of new faces; this one, he’s able to work with these great actresses, who can be ageless with the right material and writers. The story, which is based on a true story, is not that appealing, but the fun Fonda, Moreno, Tomlin, and Field bring on this Super Bowl weekend sure is.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: comedy, Drama, Sport

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