Grab a shovel, and un-burry your gays, because “Bottoms” (2023) is hitting the screen and going out swinging. “Bottoms” is an R-rated teen comedy for lesbians. It is one of the most insane films I’ve ever seen. It’s like a fever dream you would have while watching a John Hughes film and “Fight Club” simultaneously, and it’s absolutely amazing.
“Bottoms” features Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennot as Josie and PJ, the two “ugly untalented gays” who are long-time best friends and who happen to be the queer losers at the bottom of the high school food chain. The film follows Josie and PJ as they inadvertently create a female fight club in order to gain the affection of the attractive and popular girls at their school.
This film is like a glorious train wreck that you can’t look away from. It has some of the worst pacing I’ve ever seen, but it manages to be endearing. The terrible pacing becomes almost part of the plot after a certain point. There are many stretches of this film that are just utter nonsense, with only a Murphy’s-law-esque bite of reality.
I’m almost at a loss for words in terms of critiquing this film because it feels like a well-crafted campy teen film with an oddly perfect amount of gore. At a certain point, it feels like “Bottoms” manages to intentionally make every so bad it’s good film mistake flawlessly, whilst still being in on the joke.
In true ‘80s classic fashion, there is no more than two minutes of actual class time on screen, a hellish rivalry that inexplicably gains more notoriety as the film progresses, and an overly intense jock vs losers dynamic. This instant classic also features several needless montages (including one set to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”) and a completely unnecessary, yet completely worth it, wise older character (Punkie Johnson) who offers completely terrible advice in true campy film fashion.
“Bottoms” is not without its token white straight male. Nicholas Galitzine stars as Jeff the heartthrob quarterback with little to no personality, opinions, or general thoughts besides being hot and popular. Jeff is truly the essence of baby girl and may actually be the most lesbian representation in the whole film (the very best lesbian representation is a silly straight man).
Though “Bottoms” is a “raunchy” high school comedy, it manages to never cross the line into completely vulgar. It feels like “Bottoms” is only being characterized as ‘raunchy’ or ‘sexual’ because it’s a queer film that focuses on queer women. It’s honestly more gory than raunchy. This film is still somewhat sexual but by no means is it anything near “American Pie” or “Not Another Teen Movie” which it has been compared to.
Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennot are two of the most charismatic and endearing parts of the film. Their characters continuously make terrible choices but still have you rooting for them the whole way through. Not to mention Edebiri and Sennot have amazing chemistry and easily sell the long-term friendship that the film centers on. With the added comedic relief of Ruby Cruz, as Hazel, the trio has some of my favorite teen-movie dialogue and they feel like a real set of teenage dirtbags with terrible ideas and even worse follow-through.
“Bottoms” is explosive, and not only worth the watch, but also the re-watch. “Bottoms” is the next cult classic in the making, and makes me excited for future work from director Emma Seligman. “Bottoms” feels like the start of a great catalog of films but probably works best without a sequel.