Saturday, September 9, 2023

Bottoms: Movie Review

The new standard for high school comedies.
Bottoms is quite possibly the funniest movie of the year. Set in a high school that is hopefully more extreme than anything in reality, PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are two very unpopular queer girls whom the entire school hates because they don’t idolize Jeff. Nicholas Galitzine’s almost cartoon portrayal of star quarterback Jeff (who wears his jersey emblazoned with his first name) perfectly fits the film’s atmosphere.   2023

Directed by: Emma Seligman

Screenplay by: Emma Seligman, Rachel Sennott

Starring: Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri

Writer-director Emma Seligman is on just her second feature after the triumphantly funny Shiva Baby. She’s reunited with Rachel Sennott who embraces an almost caustic level of humour and adds the equally funny Ayo Edebiri to the cast. PJ and Josie are to lesbian girls who are called ugly by the entire school including the principal; PJ crushes on the school’s model Brittany while Josie has very pessimistic fantasies about her crush Isabel who is dating star quarterback Jeff.

The jokes start at the pre-season carnival where PJ and Josie have an opportunity to talk to Brittany and Isabel but are unable to string coherent sentences together and then end the evening by running over Jeff with their car (moving at approximately 2 miles per hour and barely touching him). If I’ve been able to accurately portray how much the entire school loves Jeff, you can guess how our two protagonists are going to be regarded. They are hated and feared; Jeff is in crutches (despite not being injured), and rumours are travelling fast, resulting in the belief that PJ and Josie spent the summer in juvie for attempted murder. With that notoriety what else are the girls to do but say the rumours are true and start an all-girls fight club?

This is a fast-moving film the jokes come flying out of all cylinders, especially when Marshawn Lynch, a very misogynistic history teacher who hates his wife, joins as the teacher signing off on their after school fight club. Former NFL star Marshawn Lynch surpasses LeBron James as the best pro athlete turned comedic movie star. If you’re laughing too hard during his scenes and miss subsequent jokes, just watch the movie again, it’s short and highly entertaining.

Bottoms should be destined to become a classic high school comedy. It fits the current generation perfectly, some really sharp jokes that catch you by surprise, and an engaging soundtrack highlighted by Jeff’s lip-synching routine to Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

The emotional beats surrounding the girls’ friendship is very predictable and the film slows down a lot when they have their inevitable falling out. The resolution helps get the film back on the comedy track, and the ending takes that to extremes. It’s too ridiculous, but I do appreciate that the film found a way to incorporate a pure comedy ending even though they do have various storylines to resolve.

One of the Best of 2023