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Bottoms is a crowd pleasing Hughes flavored comedy
Director Emma Seligman returns to high school for her sophomore feature in Bottoms from Orion Pictures. Seligman pens the film’s screenplay with Rachel Sennott, who also headlines the film.
PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are in their last year of high school and have realized that their best years have passed. While Josie is content with the idea, PJ doesn’t want to go to college a virgin and devises a plan to score with the object of hers and Josie’s affections.
Josie has her eye on Isabel (Havana Rose Liu), who is in a one-sided and unhealthy relationship with the school’s tool quarterback, Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine). PJ, on the other hand, has a thing for Brittany (Kaia Gerber). A series of events leads the duo to team up with fellow outcast classmate Hazel (Ruby Cruz) to start a fight club as a way to lose their virginities to cheerleaders.
Under the guidance of history teacher Mr. G (Marshawn Lynch), who is working through his own issues, the club finds success. The fight club gains traction, and soon, the most popular girls in school are beating each other up in the name of self-defense. But PJ and Josie find themselves in over their heads and in need of a way out before their plan is exposed.
Bottoms starts as a borderline satirical comedy with high school tropes. The football players wear their uniforms all day, Mr. G clearly has no passion for teaching, and there’s even a rumor about PJ and Josie that gives them street cred. One-liners come a mile a minute with both Sennott, Edebiri, and the rest of the cast organically using profanity instead of cussing to cuss. The actresses both have moments that validate their rising career status. Before breaking into the film industry, Sennott and Edebiri were college roommates, so their friendship comes across naturally on screen.
The rest of the supporting cast all have some solid moments. Nicholas Galitzine embodies a throwback-style high school bully, complete with his overzealous sidekick and second-in-command, Tim (Miles Fowler). However, the true MVP of the film is Marshawn Lynch, who displays natural comedic timing. Lynch steals every scene in entirely selling the material. I was so impressed with Lynch that I wouldn’t mind seeing him in another film.
While Bottoms is laugh-out-loud funny, one dramatic moment in the film truly stands out. I won’t spoil it, but audiences will know the moment when the scene happens. Like Heathers, Mean Girls, and other female-led high school comedies before it, Bottoms isn’t trying to reinvent the high school comet genre but instead add another fresh voice.
Final Grade: A-
Bottoms in limited theaters now and expands wide tonight
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