High school can be a messy experience for everyone. However, what is stopping people from changing that? Could they make those changes through beating the shit out of their classmates, friends and crushes? In real life, that is probably not the best choice to make. However, in “Bottoms”, that could be the ticket to success. What is a better way to impress your crush than to punch them in the face? The film cleverly satirizes the high school movie genre to make an outrageous film, but in a great way. On paper, a film about high school women beating each other up may sound flimsy. However, this film can make everything make sense for a solid plot. The film turns plenty of tropes on their head with a lack of expected groundedness. If you have ever seen a movie about high school students before, you will probably understand what this film is going for. Released in theaters on August 25, “Bottoms” is the most chaotic teenage comedy of the year.
PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebri) are two best friends who are both complete losers as the “ugly untalented gays.” All PJ and Josie care about are talking to their crushes, Brittany (Kaia Gerber) and Isabel (Havana Rose Liu). At their high school, everyone cares about the football team and their beloved quarterback, Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine), who is also Isabel’s boyfriend. When PJ and Josie accidentally hit or graze Jeff’s leg with their car, the two girls might be expelled. Luckily, they convince the principal that they were practicing for a fight club. While originally serving as a cover-up, PJ thinks this will be a great way for them to lose their virginities to hot women. After all, violence turns people on. The two, with the help of their loser friend Hazel (Ruby Cruz) and their club advisor Mr. G (Marshawn Lynch), convince people to sign up by saying that they were in juvie and have experience in fighting. What starts as a way to seduce their classmates becomes a place for female empowerment. However, will their original plan work? How will everyone feel when they lie about going to juvie? Did anyone learn anything from this fight club?
What I loved about this film is that every character felt like they mattered. From the main stars to the people with one or two lines, everyone had a chance to steal the show. Of course, it was the stars of the film that stole the show. Sennott had the hammier role between the two leads, making her stand out more. She was the one who was making all of the dramatic speeches and was showing the most attention-grabbing emotions. A different actress could have made this part seem too cartoonish and unlikable. However, Sennott was able to soar. Alternatively, Edebri has more of the “straight man” part, which means she did not stand out as much. However, the straight man is necessary for every comedic duo. Edebri served as an excellent foil to Sennott to calm her down, while also having some great comedic moments. The balance between subtlety and hilarity can be difficult, and Edebri nailed it. An actor that stood out to me was Galitzine. Even though this character was not supposed to be likable, I always waited for the next moment he appeared on screen. He was able to be both a tough football jock while also being an emotional diva. He had the perfect level of goofiness for the film. My other favorites include Cruz as Hazel, who we slowly saw crawl out of her shell during this film. You don’t think her character will do much when you first see her, but then you see the layers get peeled back and we see her sensitive side, and I think Cruz did an excellent job. I also have to applaud Lynch for playing the hilarious Mr. G. Lynch has made a career out of being a football player, so people were not expecting him to have great acting talents. However, every line that came out of his mouth was extremely funny with excellent delivery and I hope he acts more soon. A lot of the actors in this film are up-and-comers, so I have to say that I hope to see more of everyone’s acting soon, preferably in another fun comedy.
I had never seen a movie like this before, and I doubt you have either. The film starts feeling somewhat normal, and then the insanity gets heightened as the film progresses. This assumption probably comes from the general plot, as a high school fight club is already a pretty outlandish concept. The film may advertise like it is taking place in our world, but much of this film does not follow real-world logic. Parts of the film can feel a little all over the place, and the direction of the film is not always clear. This is not a complaint about the film. It is praise, and I applaud how this film is willing to take risks. A film like this could probably not get made 15, or even 10 years ago, as producers might have seen it as too much for mainstream audiences. However, in the year 2023, we are finally ready.
The key to a great satire is to ensure your audience is familiar with the cliches being lampooned, and to have fun messing with those cliches. “Bottoms” takes that to the extreme. From classes seemingly ending after just a few minutes to the school’s almost creepy adoration of their football team, this movie is having fun with the tropes that are often seen in high school films. While this means that some parts of the film are predictable, it also leads to comedic moments. When it came to the dialogue, it looked like there was a new funny line every couple of seconds. This can be a bit overwhelming sometimes; naturally, not every line of dialogue will be a winner. However, most of the lines were cracking up myself and the entire audience. Then there were sight gags. These gags reigned from the subtle posters in the background that demonstrated the oddness of the school to the weird behaviors of every person in this film. While I loved the dialogue, the film could be on mute, and I would still get a lot of chuckles from what I saw. Some films rely on one or the other, but “Bottoms” harnessed the power of speech and sight. All of these comedic techniques combined made for a hilarious film.
There have been complaints in recent years that the era of comedy movies is fading. While the 2000s was filled with silly and fun movies, there have not been as many notable wacky comedy movies in recent years. “Bottoms” seems to want to change that notion. It is full of energy and wants everyone to laugh until they cry. The advertising for this film may make it seem like it is targeted towards an LGBTQ audience, but everyone can enjoy the jokes in this film. There are also messages of female empowerment in the film, but the comedic elements make sure that the message does not feel so heavy-handed. The film may seem a little too zany at moments, but that might be the goal of this film. Realism starts to slip away as the film gets even more satirical. This film is truly one of a kind and could be the beginning of a new renaissance for comedy. If you want to laugh at a bunch of high school women in a fight club or see some young and strong female characters discover their purpose, watch “Bottoms” today.