The film 80 for Brady features three Oscar winners and a nearly nominated actor, leading to the question of whether this is the best that Hollywood has to offer. Directed by Kyle Marvin and written by Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, the film is a predictable comedy that feels like a mix between Girls Trip, Book Club, and The Blind Side. Produced by NFL star Tom Brady, the film comes across as a vanity project that is based on a true story.

Although Marvin’s intent is to create a heartwarming film, the formulaic structure and slow pace of the film make it difficult to enjoy. The illogical plot points only add to the confusion, making the audience scratch their heads rather than laugh. The dialogue is tedious and the foreshadowing is heavy-handed, including a warning not to confuse medication and the moment when a character drops an important bag on the floor. It feels like a pantomime.

To keep the conclusion from arriving too quickly, this film relies on unexpected twists and turns. The storyline itself is quite simple: while going through chemotherapy many years ago, Lou (played by Lily Tomlin) discovers her love for the National Football League, particularly quarterback Tom Brady’s “beautiful” masculinity. Fast-forward to 2017, and Lou is still as obsessed as ever. Her best friends Trish, Maura, and Betty (played by Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field, respectively) share in her addiction and jump at the chance to attend the Super Bowl when the opportunity arises.

Despite the limited quality of their roles, each of these actresses brings impressive commitment to their performances. Their chemistry together is both winning and believable, especially between Fonda and Tomlin, who have a strong bond from co-producing Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. Field delivers the film’s most honest performance, with her character’s relationship with her husband charting a satisfying trajectory. Tomlin also shines, although her analogy comparing overcoming cancer to a footballer’s final quarter effort falls a bit flat.

There are some scattered chuckles throughout the film, but Moreno delivers most of the standout jokes. However, the humor is not particularly uproarious, even in the comedic moments. The consumption of gummy edibles and a spicy chicken wing eating competition don’t lead to any significant developments, and cameos from Guy Fieri and others may not resonate with non-American viewers. Similarly, while the Super Bowl may be a uniquely American event, the finale lacks excitement despite being well-edited with contemporary footage.

The film’s main appeal lies in spending time with the legendary figures themselves, and 80 for Brady delivers in this regard. It’s hard not to enjoy the charm of Tomlin’s winks or Moreno’s irreverent expressions. However, the film’s glamorization of the truth, particularly in the final images of the real-life Patriot seniors, is almost ridiculous. Brady, in particular, receives a blatant adoration rather than a satirical send-up. Unfortunately, the film as a whole doesn’t quite warrant such praise. It’s unlikely that 80 for Brady will become an annual appointment viewing like the Super Bowl for its millions of American fans.

By Lucy

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