Few things make me feel older than watching a modern high school movie, as you can tell when it reflects a younger generation. It feels like a different world, and I appreciate them as much as they entertain me. Yet some things are timeless, like finding your group and figuring out yourself during a pivotal time. Bottoms is a queer, GenZ anecdote to the raunchy 80s comedies that resonated with its GenX sensibility and a bit like Not Another Teen Movie from a satirical standpoint. This is a snapshot of an inclusive and genuine generation with something to say.
The amusing premise is about two girls who start a fight club (or self-defense as they spin it) to lose their virginity to hot cheerleaders. Rachel Sennott is one of her generation’s great comedic actresses. Her comic timing and impulsive energy are perfect, and she deserves more recognition beyond the Letterboxd-loving cinephiles. Ayo Edebiri as Josie was a highlight. She is having a moment with the TV series The Bear, and it transitions well to the foul-mouthed, big-screen antics. Other cast members who stand out include Nicholas Galitzine as Jeff, the football jock, the gorgeous Kaia Jordan Gerber as the insecure Brittany, and the scene-stealing Marshawn Lynch as Mr. G, the teacher with some of the best lines in the movie.
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Director Emma Seligman made one of my favorite movies of 2021, Shiva Baby, which had hysterical, chaotic cringe energy. Seligman reunited with its leading star, Sennott, who co-wrote Bottoms. They work well together, excel on a different level, and build upon what they started as being a new voice in comedy. A subversive element to Bottoms is how we are used to seeing men act this way in movies but rarely women. Partnering with the producer Elizabeth Banks is an ideal match to finance and distribute female stories. Bottoms works as an absurd, over-the-top satire that doesn’t feel too far from the reality of GenZ on a journey of self-discovery in high school.
I attended an advanced screening at Denver Film’s Cinema Q Film Festival opening night with a packed, sold-out audience a few weeks ago. Watching Bottoms with as many people as possible is highly recommended. The audience was rowdy, and this was the best environment to watch it in, so don’t skip out on the theatrical experience with this one. I expect this comedy to have a cult following years from now.