Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, Kaia Gerber, Havana Rose Liu & Marshawn Lynch in Bottoms (2023)
Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott's latest collaboration Bottoms comes out on top! Featuring the breakout star of The Bear, Ayo Edebiri, the quirky queer comedy is as absurd as it is endearing. What happens when two horny losers start a fight club under the guise of empowering women just to hook up with hot girls at school? You get the campiest, horniest and most unexpected movie event of the summer!
Bottoms finds two high school seniors, PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Edebiri), currently sitting at the bottom of the social pyramid. But once a spicy rumour embellishes their reputations, the girls find themselves with an opportunity. Although the pair aren't exactly Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, they decide to start their own Fight Club at school as a way to get closer to their crushes. And, of course, support female solidarity!
Meanwhile, the clock ticks down towards the school's biggest football game against their rivals. Although PJ and Josie have no idea what they are doing, the group seems to figure it out one punch to the face at a time. The antagonists in this movie come in the form of toxically masculine and unapologetically nationalist football players Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine) and Tim (Miles Fowler), who are eager to expose the truth behind the Fight Club and keep the status quo at school (and the world) working in their favour. Will this farcically feminist fight club survive? Have the girls developed strong relationships with one another amongst bloody right hooks and uppercuts? Will they be successful in learning how to protect themselves from male attackers? But most importantly, does their plan work?
Do PJ and Josie lose their virginities?!
Rachel Sennott's recent role in A24's Bodies Bodies Bodies had her as the pompous and melodramatic Alice, a rich girl who loves to stoke the fire and watch things burn. Although Alice is a far more eccentric character than PJ is in Bottoms, Sennott's seamless delivery remains her shining staple. PJ is brash and impulsive, the perfect antithesis to Josie's dorky shyness and perpetual trepidation. The chemistry between them is what carries the film, proving once again that these two actresses are a riot together.
But the playfulness and improvisational chops don't end with Tyler Durden and The Narrator. Havana Rose Liu, Kaia Gerber and Nicholas Galitzine work off each other easily and hilariously throughout the film, delivering some serious laugh out loud moments. Despite everyone's best efforts, the breakout star of the film is former NFL player Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch. Lynch is the oblivious, inappropriate and oversharing Mr. G and was personally requested to play the role by Seligman and the studio. And rightfully so. To those unaware of his success and prestige in the NFL, they might just believe Lynch is a certified comedian.
Seligman's debut feature Shiva Baby (which is held in high regard around here) was praised due to its ability to induce an anxiety more fervent and debilitating than one might experience watching a horror thriller. Although Shiva Baby revolves around the life of a queer character, Seligman had a different challenge to face when filming Bottoms; a film she and Sennott began working on while still studying together at New York University (NYU). However, she proved herself able to juggle absurd and campy comedy on one hand and bloody action sequences with the other.
While Bottoms reminisces on teen comedies of yore (Think Superbad or Heathers), it stands entirely its own. The film feels fresh and current without reaching into the basics bin and pulling out the staples of overzealous Gen Z commentary ((ie. characters filming TikToks, kids vaping, shoehorned socio-political dialogue).
Listen. PJ and Josie aren’t losers because they're gay. They're losers because they are losers. Who also happen to be “untalented and ugly.” This means the commentary on homophobia and sexism is ripe and biting. That being said, the movie makes no grand claims about being feminist, queer or Gen Z'd. It just is. Self-aware, satirical and silly, it achieved what it set out to do and did it well. A fun addition to the High School Movie Hall of Fame, Bottoms certainly packs a punch!
Review By Seager Wakil
Edited & Co-Written By Jurgen Sosa