Featuring: Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, Ruby Cruz, Havana Rose Liu, Kaia Gerber, Nicholas Galitzine, Miles Fowler, Marshawn Lynch
Director: Emma Seligman
In Cinemas: 3rd November 2023
Bottoms revolves around two high school students who aren’t very popular and seem to have no luck in hooking up until they decide to start a fight club to meet other women to have sex, which sets up the main plot line in this coming-of-age absurd teen comedy. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri play the two lead characters, who work well together and create a very likeable dynamic whenever on screen, giving big, energetic performances. The opening 20 minutes explodes with bizarre, constant vulgar dialogue about female genitalia and other scenarios that need a tame introduction, as opposed to a confusing, head-scratching beginning. Everything feels rushed in the movie’s first quarter; the gags and that humour attempt are non-stop, and sometimes, it feels exhausting to keep up to speed. Even when the joke doesn’t land, it is followed by another one that again does not work. It needed to be slow and steady, introducing breaths between long, lengthy script pieces from the actors. It is almost like you need a notepad to keep track, and it is very in your face. But once we get past the chaos, the film becomes more exciting and enjoyable when the fight club starts to form.
The clever use of contemporary music and current themes keeps the film engaging, delivers some funny moments, and starts to have a stable strand of likability to the scenes and characters. It almost feels like it is trying to gain a future status, similar to ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Clueless’ where there are some similarities, ‘Bottoms’ considers the more diverse society and focuses on current issues in modern times. Feminism is explored in a peculiar approach when, in various scenes, equality becomes non-existent. Moments in the film where an empowering woman is matched up in a fight by a group of females against a physically stronger man, and she ends up getting knocked unconscious with a punch. In addition, a male teacher (Marshawn Lynch) in support of women’s rights then suddenly changes his attitude and tears down his opinions by objecting to feminism. Many things like this don’t work, and trying to understand potential hidden meanings becomes frustrating. Some characters are placed for comedic value and to create multiple personalities within the fight club, and it succeeds to an extent. There are questionable observations when some talents include bomb-making, which is so random and entirely unnecessary, and that attempt at humour seemed forced.
Some other things need more explaining towards the end of the film; there are attempts at making humour about the football team’s dislike of pineapple juice. That constant pattern of failed comedic attempts becomes overused and awkward simply because it isn’t apparent. There are moments where the tone of the movie turns dark and severe when the girls are in the gymnasium talking about their problems in life. The seriousness of the topic immediately stops and then requires laughter from the audience, which constantly changes in parts where we need to feel empathy. Bottoms is a refreshingly original take on a teen comedy, which sometimes goes outside its comfort zone and should be admired. The excellent casting complements the different personalities required in contrasting scenes. It is brave to be different, and sometimes it can be challenging.