BOTTOMS, a refreshingly unique raunchy comedy, focuses on two girls, PJ and Josie, who start a fight club as a way to lose their virginities to cheerleaders. Their bizarre plan works. 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 is another raunchy comedy exploring lesbian expression and online culture. Unlike the adult focused Joyride, released earlier this year, Bottoms has a high school focus— its absurdities and the length some girls will go to achieve romantic success. Here, the queer duo try to leverage shooter anxiety with lies about their “gangsta” credentials.
PJ (Rachel Sennott, who also co-wrote) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are the “ugly, untalented gays.” They pine either openly or silently for two popular girls (Kaia Gerber and Havana Rose Liu). When they accidentally lightly tap the star quarterback (Nicholas Galitzine) with their car their gangsta credentials are amplified by the rumor mongering friend (Ruby Cruz) who heard them joking and riffing on their pretend time in juvenile detention. They parlay this image into starting a girl’s fight club that will allow other shy and lonely girls closer to their crushes.
This basic plot allows for all kinds of improvisations. It’s all suppose to be camp, outrageous details taken to the absurd, but it never feels that way, especially when everybody around the girls take it deadly seriously. The subplot which involves the kidnapping and attempted murder of a rival quarterback is total cringe. As the heat is turned up it becomes increasingly squeamish to realize that the frogs in the boiling pan of water are not going to jump out. Bottoms disjointedness amplifies this feeling. Others might find two girls punching themselves out funny. I don’t. The palpable screen chemistry between Sinnott and Edebiri makes it even more disconcerting, a failed attempt at a comic theater of cruelty.
The violence at the core of the film is never undercut by the humor. The girls banding together to protect themselves from this violence shows how unprotected vulnerable girls are left with no other recourse.
Bottoms tries to be progressive but only feels regressive as it drags on. It’s a movie where its relevance make it irrelevant.
Bottoms gets a 3.0 out of 5 or a B.
- Emma Seligman
- Rachel Sennott
- Miles Fowler
- March 11, 2023(SXSW)
- August 25, 2023(United States)