What to Watch Verdict
The team of Field, Fonda, Moreno and Tomlin pull 80 for Brady along for an enjoyable watch for football and non-football fans alike.
The main quartet are all a riot
Accessible to non-football (and non-Patriot) fans
Good use of NFL footage
Various subplots and cameos are almost all empty filler
Tom Brady is often referred to as the GOAT (greatest of all time) among football fans, but despite 80 for Brady bearing his name, this movie belongs wholly to four of the greatest actresses of their generation — arguably any — Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Lily Tomlin. This quartet made 80 for Brady better and more accessible than it may have otherwise been.
The quartet of leading ladies play a group of octogenarians (and one septuagenarian) who are some of the biggest Tom Brady fans you'll ever meet. When Brady leads the New England Patriots to Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons, this group of friends decide to head to the big game themselves to cheer on their favorite team and player. Hijinks ensue for the group, inspired by real fans for the seven-time champion, as they enjoy various Super Bowl festivities and help will the Patriots to one of the biggest comebacks in NFL history.
Field, Fonda, Moreno and Tomlin are a perfect team, bringing the laughs and the chemistry that makes 80 for Brady as enjoyable as it is. It may not be the most sophisticated of comedy, but it's a riot to see the them all make the most of these outlandishly funny situations, whether it's Field's Betty winning a hot wing contest because she no longer has a strong sense of taste, Fonda's Trish penning Rob Gronkowski fan fiction or Moreno's Maura trying to scalp some tickets. Tomlin has a number of good laughs herself, but she is more of the emotional heart of the movie, including giving a rousing speech to Tom Brady that inspires him to lead the Pats historic charge. (Sure, it's a silly idea, but damn it if you're not caught up when it happens.)
The rest of 80 for Brady can't compete with what these ladies brought to the table, but not for lack of trying. There are a number of different subplots that the story tries to squeeze in for each lady, but none have any actual impact on the story aside from the medical issues for Tomlin's Lou. Character development or any real sense of drama is not what this movie is aiming for. But go in open to just enjoying it as a light bite of entertainment and it'll win you over.
Similar to the subplots, the 80 for Brady cast is stuffed with cameos, though most don't move the needle. Harry Hamlin, Guy Fieri, Sara Gilbert, Rob Corddry, Alex Moffat, Andy Richter, Jimmy O. Yang and more show up but aren't particularly memorable. The few we did enjoy were Glynn Turman as a widower pining after Moreno's Maura, Bob Balaban's absent minded husband to Field's Betty and Billy Porter, a dance choreographer that makes fast friends with the ladies.
The other big cameos come in the form of famous Patriots from that Super Bowl, including Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and, of course, Tom Brady. Brady may be the GOAT on the field, but his post-football career certainly isn't going to be on the big screen (in a bit of nice timing, Brady announced his retirement from the NFL on February 1). Given a dramatic monologue at the end, he can't hold a candle to his leading ladies. But, credit where credit is due, when it comes to a couple of quick jokes involving the future Hall of Famer, he does a good job with it.
Also worth mentioning the editing team for 80 for Brady, as they did a great job weaving in actual footage from Super Bowl LI into the story of the movie. It was all pretty seamless and made a game that we all knew the result of enjoyable to see play out again (unless of course you're Atlanta Falcons fans, then sorry you have to relive it).
Even though the main characters worship Tom Brady, 80 for Brady is not just for diehard fans of the quarterback. Thanks to the charm and hilarity of Field, Fonda, Moreno and Tomlin, you don't even have to be a football fan to enjoy this cute and easy-to-watch comedy.
80 for Brady is playing exclusively in movie theaters in the US starting February 3. See what other new movies are coming in 2023.
Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.