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80 For Brady ★★★★



Director: Kyle Marvin

Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, Sally Field 

Release: March 24, 2023

If Mount Rushmore was suddenly decimated and recarved into, four faces that would probably be popular choices to immortalise would be Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno. While the fall of past U.S. presidents doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon, this reincarnation of The Golden Girls gets to live on in the form of Kyle Marvin’s latest flick 80 For Brady. Though the bridge between stalwart actresses and 2017 NFL football doesn’t seem like a natural fit, the two effortlessly combine together to give viewers something seldom visible at the local multiplex — cinema that doesn’t require complex lateral thinking.

In 2017, best friends Maura (Rita Moreno), Betty (Sally Field), Lou (Lily Tomlin), and Trish (Jane Fonda) dream of going to the Super Bowl to see Pats legend Tom Brady play. Believing they’ve won four competition tickets, the gang set off on a road trip to Houston, filled with unforgettable hijinks that put their chances of getting into the stadium in jeopardy. Meeting a host of famous faces along the way, each of the four must face the fun alongside their own continuing backstories.

It goes without saying that nobody expects 80 For Brady to deliver Oscar-worthy cinematography, narrative, or performances. More Hallmark than Royal Shakespeare Company, there’s only a certain level of nuance that the film is ever going to hit — and it’s all it needs to achieve. Straight off of the back of their 7-year run on Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin lead the way for four friends falling into a timeless pattern of warmth and comfort. While Tomlin’s Lou has a hardened edge that’s come from years of chemotherapy, Fonda’s Trish is yet another example of the coquettish octogenarian that she continues to play with aplomb. Moreno’s Maura slots in with individual tempo and flair, never fully succumbing to the romantic trap that’s planted in her narrative. Rounding out the fab four, Field channels a slice of Hello, My Name Is Doris to flesh out the bored, unfulfilled retiree that lets loose once her needy husband is out of the picture. The film’s strength and emphasis are held in this casting as opposed to technicalities, and frankly, it doesn’t need anything else. 

There’s rarely a chance where you can see 70-year-olds eating spicy hot wings, 90-year-olds twerking for tickets, and 80-year-olds macking on in mansion broom cupboards, but this triage of entertaining scenarios straddles the necessary balance between far-fetched ridicule and whole-hearted humour. Despite their collective years of grounding in the business, none of the quartet shies away from making themselves — or their obvious ageing — the tasteful butt of the joke. There is arguably a gap in the market for films that don’t become too introspective, taking life as it comes rather than trying to search for morals in hidden meanings. If there was more room for features like 80 For Brady, perhaps the world of cinephiles would take themselves a little less seriously.

Simultaneously, 80 For Brady is both groundbreaking and happy to stay in its lane. While the craft might leave something to be desired — with perhaps too much focus on the film’s imaginary football podcasting duo — the tight-knit casting is eternally worth its value and guarantees out loud laughs. 

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