In 80 for Brady, the year is 2017 and four best friends, in the latter stages of their life, meet up regularly to watch American football. Over the past 16 years, the sport has become very important to the quartet, as has their love of star player Tom Brady, and they dream of one day going to the Super Bowl.
But with the cost of tickets being so high, the group realise that a trip to the Super Bowl is unlikely to ever happen. That is until they see a contest advertised on television, which is giving away tickets to the big event.
After acquiring tickets, the group set off to Texas to attend the game. Along the way, they find themselves indulging in various other activities, including a wing eating contest and a party.
But with the game meaning so much to them, and a few problems popping up before they reach the stands, will they get to realise their dreams? And if they do get to watch the game, will the Super Bowl become the stand-out moment of their lives?
Directed by Kyle Marvin, and inspired by a true story, 80 for Brady is a sports comedy starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno and Sally Field. Having opened in the US back in February, the movie makes its way over to the UK this month, with special preview screenings taking place this weekend for Mother’s Day (March 19th), before going on general release from Friday March 24th.
80 for Brady is a gentle comedy, which has the ability to draw out a few laughs, and the tone and overall approach won’t offend anyone. I expect it will do decent numbers for the preview screenings, as it has ‘Mother’s Day comedy’ written all over it, and anyone who does give it a watch will find it mildly entertaining in places.
However, once this film goes on general release over here, I can’t see it packing in the crowds. The story is largely quite predictable, the appeal is fairly niche, and the Super Bowl angle is sure to fall flat, as UK audiences are largely disinterested in US football.
The film also feels very much like something that wants to be funnier than it is. For every ten jokes that are offered up, only one or two land, and this is quite noticeable after a while.
What 80 for Brady does have going for it though is a strong core cast, with Fonda, Tomlin, Moreno, and Field all looking suitably fabulous. There is a sense they probably had fun making this movie, even if it doesn’t quite translate on screen, and their combined star power gives the film some appeal.
Without these four actresses, 80 for Brady would probably fall at the first hurdle. With them it has a little spark, even if that spark does ultimately fizzle out before the end.
But as I say, this film has a niche market and if you fall into this niche, then you might enjoy what’s on offer. I doubt anyone will rush back to it after one viewing, but its light touch isn’t going to put anyone out.
Years ago, I worked in a video rental store, and we had customers of all ages come through the doors. I feel quite confident in saying that had 80 for Brady been available to rent during this time, no one would check it out on a Friday or Saturday night, but it would probably do OK on a Sunday afternoon.
80 for Brady is very much a post-Sunday lunch kind of affair, that can be watched with a glass of red wine and a few chocolates. If you doze off for a few minutes here and there it won’t be a huge issue, and you won’t feel the need to hit rewind.
There is a whimsical, positive spirit that runs through the picture, and this makes it likeable enough. Not amazing, but certainly watchable if you are in the right frame of mind, or if you are a fan of the cast.
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