Review – Bottoms

Directed by Emma Seligman and written by Seligman and Rachel Sennott, Bottoms stars Sennott and Ayo Edebiri as unpopular lesbian best friends PJ and Josie who, in a twist on dated high school movies from the 90s and early 2000s, accidentally start a female support group/fight club simply to have sex with the popular girls Isabel (Havana Rose Liu) and Kaia Gerber (Brittany).

One might expect this movie, from that premise, to play it all a bit safe with the expected high school movie humour of needlessly Mean Girls sticking it to the “ugly weirdos”, leading into a moment of truth where the unpopular kids can finally be heard for the first time, a lie is told, people get hurt, but it’s all okay in the end because all the characters realise they might not be so different from one another.

Thank all that is holy. THAT type of movie either died years ago or is relegated to the depths of the endless Netflix library. Bottoms rips out all the pages of the high school movie tropes, cuts them all into teeny tiny pieces, then glues them back together melding them with pages of other books like Heathers, Booksmart, Fight Club, Wet Hot American Summer and Bring It On, to create something so over-the-top and insane that it carves out a path of its own.

Almost every character in Bottoms is an extreme exaggeration of a notable archetype, which keeps Emma Seligman’s sophomore film feeling fresh in every scene despite maybe being a bit much to take in. Sennott and Edebiri are playing two relatively normal girls who are still preoccupied with having sex for the first time, the same as characters one might remember in films like American Pie, Weird Science, and various National Lampoon films. Still, the twist of them being lesbians also in a platonic friendship means that we get to see how strange the very idea of that character motivation is when put in the context of sex not shown or mentioned so forwardly in mainstream movies. Both characters are incredibly flawed because of their obsessions and lack of honesty with each other, friends, and lovers. It is also quite refreshing, as too many high school movies end with no moral accountability for the main character’s actions. Sennott and Edebiri have great chemistry with each other, keep their characters still relatable despite their questionable logic, and lead the film with subversive energy.

The supporting cast is filled with absurd characters, playing into stereotypes but going along so brilliantly with the manic directions of the story that they all become something far more watchable that your typical high school comedy. Ruby Cruz is an instant standout as the most normal of the bunch Hazel, but even she has a penchant for domestic terrorism that borders on the insane; Havana Rose Liu and Kaia Gerber are given so much more to do with their “popular girl” characters and excel here beyond only used for their looks in other media (both actresses are models), Nicholas Galitzine’s Jeff, the football star of the school, is a camp, absurd, and ridiculous caricature of fragile masculinity which is used for some of the film’s best jokes, and Marshawn Lynch as the supportive teacher Mr G looks like he would never be used in other more boring high school movies but here fits perfectly and delivers some absolute tear-inducing lines and visual gags.

Emma Seligman surrounds the entire film with this high-energy absurdity, like running background jokes, wild tonal shifts, massive hits of blood and violence that you can never expect, and an overall disregard that Bottoms becomes a total cartoon in the best way. It has meaning at its core and compelling character development. Still, it keeps the comedy first and foremost, never letting the audience sit too long between insane jokes or some baffling new line delivery by random side characters. For this reviewer, someone who considers Community his favourite show and Booksmart the best movie of 2019, it was all the right stuff. Bottoms may be to much to take in and perhaps is a little too wild at times, throwing so much out there and hoping at least one thing sticks, but it is easily one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time. You walk out in a daze of madcap energy that harkens back to what cinematic comedies used to be, and Bottoms should be the start of something better for the genre on the silver screen. Sucker punches, lesbian sex, car bombs, senseless vengeance, neck snaps, scissor kicks, screaming for minutes straight, effeminate men, masculine women, a guy locked in a cage for no reason, flip-flop feminism, and one bit where a dude just gets stabbed with Aragorn’s sword. Bottoms has it all.

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Directed by Emma Seligman and written by Seligman and Rachel Sennott, Bottoms stars Sennott and Ayo Edebiri as unpopular lesbian best friends PJ and Josie who, in a twist on dated high school movies from the 90s and early 2000s, accidentally start a female...Review - Bottoms