Movie Review: Although not entirely unwatchable, “80 for Brady” is to sort of low-brow comedy that proves Hollywood can’t produce original ideas anymore. The genre is dying, and even Tom Brady can’t deliver a glimmer of hope.
Hahaha. Yeah, I went and saw “80 for Brady.” I never thought I’d be saying (or typing) this, but let’s review the new Tom Brady comedy. The GOAT is coming for the movie industry and trying to break his way in. Like many of sports’ biggest stars (most recently LeBron James’ “Space Jam: A New Legacy”), Brady feels inclined to profit off his own popularity and newfound post-retirement free time by acting!
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always pay dividends for the star in question. That LeBron movie I just mentioned? Yeah, it’s not very good. I watched Kevin Durant’s “Thunderstruck” earlier this week and that had a better chance of succeeding if it served as a sports movie parodying itself like the “Scary Movie” franchise did for horror. Athletes rarely pull these movies off, so naturally I was expecting “80 for Brady” to do the same.
For these reasons, I’m not going to sit here and ridicule and mock “80 for Brady” for its extremely safe and low risk story. It’s a movie surrounding the aura of a superstar athlete – the track record is incredibly low. A movie like “80 for Brady” gets graded on a relatively favorable scale. I’ll be honest, I found it occasionally charming and funny. A few specific set pieces and plot points stand out from the rest; there’s a sequence where the quartet find themselves accidently engaging in weed gummy bears. I’m a simpleton – I found that funny.
But I’m also not going to argue that “80 for Brady” is the next great comedy and the saving grace for a genre desperate for new ideas and faces. The movie obviously uses its titular football icon for marketing, but Tom Brady is surprisingly absent for the majority of the film’s runtime. It feels almost too lowest common denominator in terms of subject matter and material.
There’s a sweet spot for a movie like “80 for Brady,” and if you can get past the fact that a movie studio sold its soul to make it, you may just have a good time. To put it another way, I can simultaneously have fun during moments of “80 for Brady” while also acknowledging that the medium is completely doomed moving forward. Hollywood is clearly running out of ideas for big theater releases – movies like this used to be direct to video instead of hitting the big screen nationwide.
I saw “80 for Brady” in a mostly empty theater. I had my comrades, and then there was a group of three older ladies sitting a few rows in front of us. And let me tell you, they had a blast. Watching this movie through their eyes is a similar experience to watching the newest Pixar movie through a child’s eyes. The experience almost elevates the movie more than its own quality.
I feel kinda lame continuing on and trying to add much more of my own deeper thoughts to a movie that clearly didn’t offer up much effort itself. The four leading actresses (Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field) all seem like they had a blast filming it, and that energy does translate through to the audience a majority of the time. Tom Brady is fun to have on screen, although it’s tough to get past realizing that you’re watching Tom Brady deliver lines into a camera that is meant to be projected in a movie theater.
It’s less tough to get past Rob Gronkowski, who quickly climbs the ladder of athletes I most want to see in movies going forward. He only delivers a couple lines towards the end of “80 for Brady,” but they are truly something else. I hope he never leaves popular culture.
There are also some fun moments sprinkled throughout for fans of the sport to pick out. Marshawn Lynch makes a wonderful cameo during a high-stakes poker game, and Tom Brady struggles to find his jersey when asked to jersey-swap in the locker room after the game (a reference to the stolen jersey-gate that rocked the sports world for weeks after the Super Bowl). There’s a bit more polish to the punchlines in “80 for Brady” than I was expecting, which helps make it a much more rewarding experience.
But despite a few of these highlights, “80 for Brady” still feels like the product of a studio system void of ideas altogether. This shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is, and the only reason people are going out to see it is because the industry is so dry of original comedies nowadays. Again, I can simultaneously have a decent time at a movie while also acknowledging that this pushes the business crisis even further. The ceiling for “80 for Brady” is just too low, and it doesn’t quite hit that ceiling.