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80 for Brady fumbles with four Hollywood legends: Movie Review

Get ready to party with the grandma gridiron gang.

The girls weekend goes to adorably ludicrous heights in the new sports comedy 80 for Brady, a greatly warped retelling of four senior women who win tickets to the Super Bowl.

The good news is there’s an outstanding lead cast of four female movie stars - Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, and Jane Fonda! - all Oscar winners who are clearly having a great time telling this sweet story.

Where the film goes badly, unfortunately, is the abysmal script from Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, who’ve changed so many parts of the story it’s insulting to reference its real-life inspiration. Even the charm from four of Hollywood's funniest women isn't enough to overcome a sweet, real-life story being warped into a meaningless mess.

Supposedly based on a true story, the plot takes place over Super Bowl LI weekend in 2017 when the New England Patriots took on the Atlanta Falcons. Four female seniors have been longtime Patriots fans, and sincerely sweet hijinks ensue when the friends win a radio contest giving them four tickets to the big game in Houston.

I write "supposedly" based on a true story because the real-life inspiration has, beyond its core premise, almost nothing to do with the actual movie 80 for Brady. So many events in the film are exaggerated it’s hard to take any of it seriously.

Those Hollywood exaggerations range from forgivable (like the betting ring at a football throw contest) to the absolutely ridiculous (like the women being invited to visit the real-life team in the locker room?!) and some, like the drug use, that are just distasteful.

For a story about the sincerity and love of friendship, camaraderie, and the strength of working together, all of the fictionalization cheapens those core messages. This glamorous, glitzy style makes it look desperate to please instead of more fun to watch.

The four stars, thankfully, bring more warmth and humour into the script than is actually there. On one hand, Tomlin, Field, Moreno and Fonda all have an infectious friendship between each other than extends off screen.

On the other hand, most of the plot feels like you’re watching the actresses themselves as opposed to their suggested characters. With the exception of Field’s Betty, their attitudes and actions are too similar - there are few conflicts, tactics or objectives being played that are clear to the audience.

Worst of all is the egregious amount of product placement for the NFL and star brands of famous football players - Brady especially, who also produces the film and isn’t shy about promoting his wholesome public image.

I attended an opening night show with a large audience of mainly senior women, and most who I spoke to after the movie were smiling and said they found it cute, but there was minimal laughter during the movie itself.

Diehard football fans and even bigger Lily Tomlin fans will find some enjoyment from 80 for Brady. Most casual viewers would be better served learning about the real-life story from home.

80 for Brady

5 out of 10

PG, 1hr 38mins. Sports Comedy.

Directed by Kyle Marvin.

Starring Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda and Tom Brady.

Now playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill & VIP and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.