Arts & Entertainment, Film and TV

‘Bottoms’ tops all other summer comedies

Dubbed ‘Lesbian Fight Club,’ Bottoms is Canadian director Emma Seligman’s second feature film. Reminiscent of beloved 90s and mid-aughts teen comedies like Superbad and American Pie, the film delivers a hilarious and unapologetically gross romp that is sure to become an instant cult classic. With a tight 90-minute runtime, Bottoms should be at the top of everyone’s watch list this weekend. 

The film follows PJ (Rachel Sennott) and her childhood best friend Josie (Ayo Edebiri), two nerdy high schoolers who start a fight club masquerading as a self-defence club, in an effort to lose their virginities to cheerleaders. As the club gains traction, the most popular girls in school join, much to the delight of its founding members. Soon, the duo finds themselves in way over their heads as their web of lies starts catching up with them. 

Seligman and Sennott’s first collaboration, 2020’s Shiva Baby, was gripping but unsettling‌. In this venture, which Sennott co-wrote, the pair swap suffocating anxiety for a lighter, more improvisational narrative. They have crafted a script that plays within the established rules and tropes of its predecessors while remaining relevant to modern young audiences’ tastes. It feels in touch with the pop culture references of the moment, making liberal use of Twitter’s cultivated vocabulary, without ever veering into cringy. Pinpointing cultural touchstones can be challenging in our ever-changing social media landscape, but the writing duo seems to accomplish more than what so many others can—creating a script that still feels relevant and clever, rather than quickly becoming outdated like the trends it draws from. The result is a piece of media that feels genuinely authentic in speaking to its audiences.

Edebiri and Sennott are magnetic and infinitely watchable, and the central premise of their friendship keeps the occasionally surrealist plot grounded as a teen comedy. However, the pair with the best chemistry is by far Edebiri and Havana Rose Liu, who plays cheerleader Isabel. The two bring an electric rom-com energy that adds a sweet and satisfying touch to what is otherwise a rather violent and absurdist final act. With adorably awkward run-in and swoon-worthy confessions of love, the two instantly become audience favourites—simply put, they are the couple you root for, a staple of the genre. 

The rest of the supporting cast fills out the captivatingly hilarious and absurdist world of PJ and Josie’s high school with equal panache. Nicholas Galitzine shines as Jeff, star quarterback and world-class idiot, and Kaia Gerber, making her acting debut, portrays an unsurprisingly believable popular cheerleader Brittany. The chemistry of this great ensemble only adds to the ever-expanding repertoire of players in the Zillennial Cult Comedy Cinematic Universe.  

The film’s true crowning achievement is how it’s able to do queer representation in a fun and light-hearted format. Mainstream queer representation, particularly lesbian representation, at the box office often comes in the form of serious dramas, so it’s refreshing to see a movie built for young queer audiences to have fun with. PJ and Josie’s trouble with getting girls isn’t about them being lesbians—there are other out queer students at their school—it’s just that they’re losers. Bottoms celebrates and has fun with young queer culture without it having to feel like a talking point of the movie. 

With such roaring success, the bright future that Seligman and Sennott have as a creative team will be undoubtedly hilarious to watch. From needle drops to costume choices, the duo evidently have a great affection for the teen comedy genre and may be able to give it a full revival, if not a makeover, for a new generation. With killer jokes, dynamic chemistry, and a final set piece worth the price of admission, Bottoms is a breath of fresh air in the space of teen comedies.

‘Bottoms’ is currently in theatres across the country.

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