In Emma Seligman’s second feature film, "Bottoms," we are greeted with something fresh and new, yet deceptively familiar; it’s a rare coming-of-age classic with a clever cast of rising Hollywood stars.
The film "Bottoms" centers around two queer self-proclaimed ‘losers’ desperate enough for the attention of their crushes to start a fake self-defense club in the name of ‘female solidarity.’
P.J (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) find themselves at the beginning of their senior year of high school as the ‘ugly, untalented gays’ in desperate need of getting laid. Determined not to leave high school virgins, the pair concocts a plan to get in the good graces (and hopefully, pants) of their cheerleader crushes. Riding high on rumors that the two spent their summer in juvenile detention together, P.J. and Josie wrangle in the unsuspecting Mr. G (Marshawn Lynch) to be their fight club advisor.
Two of the best things about this movie are Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri. While it’s not usually a surprise to see near thirty year olds playing high schoolers, it’s easily forgivable this time when the likeness of Sennott and Edebiri are just so good. Sennott, of director Seligman’s first feature "Shiva Baby" (2020) and "Bodies Bodies Bodies" (2022), has an irresistible charisma, despite her character’s unsavory morals. Edebiri, of "The Bear" (2023), shines with her deadpan delivery and reluctant moral compass. You can’t help but root for them, even when their inevitable crash and burn inches closer and closer.
Building on the deception of its main characters, "Bottoms" calls to mind a nostalgic romantic comedy with the modern kick of its feisty queer lineup.
If you don't do well with violence or blood, this might not be the movie for you. Otherwise, this is an overall high-hitting film with few low moments.
The film, already with a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, will no doubt become a cult favorite. Using the stereotypical jock/nerd tropes and extravagant horny high school dynamic, "Bottoms" rarely fails to get your attention or (pun intended) hit you right in the gut. A movie by and for queer people, the film dazzles with its nonchalant approach to queer culture. Not only is queerness accepted in the world of "Bottoms", it’s expected.
There is something to be said for a film that subverts the expectations and norms of society in such a simple, unspoken way. It is rare to get queer films, especially sapphic-centered ones, that do not focus on the idea of coming out or tragedy. "Bottoms" is not about tragedy and it is not about coming out, the film works on the assumption that if you walk into that theater, you are there to see queer people living real lives.
With all its humor, horniness and heart, "Bottoms" earns a 9 out of 10 from me.