80 For Brady is the Avengers Endgame of Octogenarian Comedies

-Justin Nordell

The rise of the ‘woman of a certain age’ comedy has been fascinating to behold. They have always been there, mostly partnering an older woman or two with a comedic foil to mine for laughs, but the modern octogenarian female comedy truly launched twenty years ago with britcom Calendar Girls which gathered Helen Mirren and a half dozen acting legends to tell the based on a true story of older society women who pose nude for a calendar. Since then, a myriad of comedies gathering talented actresses together for light laughs and a lot of heart has become box office and streaming gold: Book Club, Poms, and Let Them Talk are all great examples of the genre. But those films are child’s play and all walked so that one film could run… err mall walk… across a football field, as 80 For Brady, the Avengers Endgame of octogenarian comedies that we’ve (all?) been waiting for hits theaters.

Lou (Lily Tomlin, 9 to 5) is a cancer survivor who discovered her love of football while recovering from chemo stuck in front of a TV without a working remote. It just so happened to be September 30, 2001 and Tom Brady’s first professional NFL game. She and her friends were inspired by this man’s underdog story and the fact that he was a total hunk certainly didn’t hurt. Lou tuned in to every Brady game since then, drawing strength from him as he grew stronger on the field until she was fully recovered. Lou’s recovery team, made up of her three best friends: Trish (Jane Fonda, also 9 to 5) the flirt, Maura (Rita Moreno, both West Side Story films) the grifter widow, and Betty (Sally Field, Steel Magnolias) the retired math professor, also got sucked into her Brady obsession and became massive New England Patriots in their own right. 

When Brady and the Pats make it to the 2017 Super Bowl, these late in life ladies decide it’s their destiny to join them in New Orleans for the big game. Entering into a radio contest from their favorite sports talk show Pats Nation™️ with Pat (Rob Corddry, Hot Tub Time Machine) and Nat (Alex Moffet, “Saturday Night Live”), the women try every angle to win these coveted tickets (the best of which is Maura getting every member of the nursing home to call in with different sob stories) but it’s Lou who pulls out the win! 

After a tumultuous trip to the airport (Maura took the wrong pills so they had to jailbreak her sleeping body from the nursing home), our stately ladies arrive in New Orleans ready for the time of their lives… as long as they’re in bed before 10. What ensues is a series of madcap antics as the ladies end up in a football throwing competition, a hot wing eating contest hosted by Guy Fieri (eye roll), a high stakes poker tournament with Retta and Billy Porter, and a live reading of some Gronk fan fiction… and that’s just day one. 

In 80 For Brady the stakes couldn’t be lower and while the laughs are few and far between, frankly you just don’t care. It is a sweet, simple film celebrating that life doesn’t end at retirement and these women can still have an impact on this world let alone on the game of football (a scene where they break into the field coach’s box and speak directly to Tom Brady on the field is an utter delight). Don’t come into 80 for Brady for the chuckles as much as the ability to spend quality time with four of the best actresses of their generation just simply having fun… and one disgraced quarterback who you sorta kinda wish wasn’t the central inspirational figure in an otherwise fantastically fun lighthearted romp. A camp classic in the making, one only wishes that they had chosen the far superior 2018 Super Bowl, but I guess Goals for Foles doesn’t have the same ring… 

Go birds. 

Grade: B+

In theaters February 3, 2023

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