80 for Brady

By Joanna Langfield

A giant leap for man(or woman)kind, this senior comedy at least treats its subjects with respect. And a decent sense of humor.

I’ve been seeing too many frivolous and demeaning comedies about the over 60 set, looking at grandma and grandpa as if they are nothing more than silly people, wishing they were young again. This one, based on a true story, may not be great, but it is honest, warm and funny in a way that feels genuine.

Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Sally Field and Lily Tomlin play longtime Boston area friends who gather weekly to cheer on their beloved New England Patriots and even more beloved Tom Brady. When the team makes it into the Super Bowl, like everybody else, they wish they could go. And one of them makes it happen. For reasons that give the film just enough gravity to keep us all invested.

Sure, there’s the obligatory (does it have to be?) accidental drug scene and some good natured, if silly stuff involving icons Billy Porter and Guy Fieri, tossed in, I suppose, to reach the cheap seats. But a nice subplot involving Fonda and Harry Hamlin takes a moment to give a solid look at elder romance, Field and husband Bob Balaban bring up the idea of co-dependency and Moreno makes sure we know that even 90 year olds can be sharp as a whip. I didn’t expect to see some real acting here, but Lily Tomlin, who gets the meatiest role, digs in and really is terrific. And a nod, too, to supporting Rob Corddry, who is just perfect as a radio commentator a bit too close to his subject.

Perhaps the worst thing about this better than it looks vehicle are the commercials, which imply the movie is just another one of those embarrassing old lady things. It may not be the greatest movie ever made, but this salute to friendship of all kinds is sure to embrace as much as it entertains us.