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80 For Brady Reviews Are In, See What Critics Are Saying About The Tom Brady-Centric Buddy Comedy

  • February 01, 2023

Tom Brady’s name may be in the title of the upcoming film 80 for Brady, but the real stars are its four Hollywood icons — Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field — portraying a quartet of 80-something New England Patriots fans who hit the road to see their team play in the 2017 Super Bowl. The movie has caught some flak from social media users who are just finding out the plot, but now the reviews are here, so critics can give us a better idea of what to expect before it hits theaters on February 3.

With everything Tom Brady has been through over the past year – from his retirement and un-retirement to his divorce from Gisele Bündchen – many are curious to see what acting chops the famed NFL quarterback brings to the screen (in the movie that he also produced). And with a trailer showing the pairing of Jane Fonda, Guy Fieri and football, what could go wrong? Let’s take a look at what the critics are saying. 

Leigh Monson of the AV Club grades the movie a C, saying that 80 for Brady relies on sight gags and celebrity cameos to make up for a lack of wit, but the genuine chemistry of the four leading actresses makes up for the film’s shortcomings. The critic continues: 

Ultimately, these four women are what save 80 For Brady from itself. For such a mediocre effort, it still manages to come across as watchable and charming because Tomlin, Field, Fonda, and Moreno are all such likable presences. The film is by no means distinctive, hilarious, or memorable in any way, but, for as cloying as this attempt at Brady brand rehabilitation could have been, it’s a testament to the magnetic appeal of ageless stars who know how to carry a film to the end zone.

Fran Hoepfner of The Wrap says Tom Brady even shows some star quality, giving off a sense of unreality that fits the tone of the movie. Not surprisingly, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin do not disappoint, according to the review: 

80 For Brady is undeniably a shiny piece of NFL propaganda, a film so in love with its own money-making apparatus that it’s hard not to find it at least somewhat evil. But the performances land and are often endearing, with all four women in particularly strong form.

Vince Mancini of Uproxx calls the movie “a weirdly fascinating train wreck,” and while he admits he didn’t think 80 for Brady would be his cup of tea, he was drawn in. The critic explains:  

80 For Brady was like a weird mushroom trip, and I found myself oddly fascinated by it all. In this jaded age of media saturation, we rarely credit wondering ‘how did they do that?’ as a question that compels us to keep watching anymore. And yet, that question was as consistently on my mind during 80 for Brady as it was during Avatar. Which actors were actually in the room during this scene? Which parts of this were shot on location and which in a makeshift studio six months later? What lines used to be in this scene that someone forgot or flubbed and the director was too polite to ask them to redo them?

Peter Debruge of Variety is one of several critics to point out that no football fandom is required, as 80 for Brady plays more as a buddy comedy than a sports film. It does celebrate the fact that women can love football too, the critic says, even if the central foursome are possibly more interested in how Tom Brady looks in his uniform than how he plays the game. He continues: 

80 for Brady may be based on a true story, but it’s presented as pure fantasy: a low-key diversion for these dark and downbeat times. Its four stars are all icons who never stray too far from the personas they’ve created for themselves, though not-yet-80 Field has fun playing a socially awkward, statistics-loving math professor enjoying a bit of time away from her needy husband (Bob Balaban). A vivacious 91, Moreno dances circles around the others, energy-wise — even though the film’s two dance numbers aren’t choreographed or edited to show all that she can do. Fonda’s a hoot as a fan-fiction-writing former ‘Mayflower Girl’ whose beauty-queen background explains the elephant in the room: her work and ‘what it cost to look like this.’

Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter says Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern’s screenplay provided the four leads with “terrifically droll lines,” but the actresses, Lily Tomlin especially, effortlessly elevate the material. The critic continues: 

As for the story itself, most of which is not set in the stadium, it’s a variously awkward, sweet and silly amalgam of day-to-day reality, sitcom zaniness and pure worship fantasy — those worshipped being, understandably, its glorious leading ladies. … Directed by Kyle Marvin, an indie producer (The Climb) at the helm of his first film, 80 for Brady lays out all its plays right on the surface, sometimes ploddingly. It’s when Marvin stands back and lets his stars loose that the film finds traction, delighting in their skill at bringing expert devil-in the-details flourishes to the obvious setups.

It sounds like regardless of how big a Tom Brady fan you are or which team (if any) your loyalty lies with, 80 for Brady is more about the friendships between the four octogenarians than it is about the Super Bowl (though I’m genuinely curious to know if ANY Atlanta Falcons fans will be willing to relive the game this movie is centered around). 

For those who want to see what Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Lily Tomlin and Sally Field can do when sharing the screen together, you’ll be able to catch 80 for Brady in theaters starting on Friday, February 3. You can also take a look at our 2023 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are coming soon. 

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