“Bottoms”: Versatile Queer Comedy that Tops Charts

By Michael Colglazier, Staff Writer

I have seen movies marketed towards my generation countless times. Movies that claim to truly understand its audience more so than others of that season. Movies that try so hard to convince you that they were made specifically for you. However, there is only one recent movie that I have seen that caused my friends and I to leave the theater with the biggest smiles on our faces saying, “Did we write that movie?” That movie is Bottoms.

Photos courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org, edited by Griffin Brammer

Bottoms is the most recent film from director Emma Seligman, known for her stellar debut Shiva Baby. Seligman and her frequent collaborator, Rachel Sennott, developed the story of Josie (Ayo Edebiri) and PJ (Sennott), who start their own feminist fight club to impress the women they desire. Friendships are tested, liars are revealed and a typical high school dramedy story ensues. But that’s not what this movie is about.

Where this movie truly shines is in the interactions between the characters. While Shiva Baby favored a tense tone that allowed for painfully uncomfortable comedy to arise, Bottoms aims for exaggerated comedy. The dialogue consistently aims for the funny bone. 

The way the characters talk to each other accentuates the ridiculousness of the world in which the story takes place. The movie walks a fine line between believability and absurdity. Almost every plot point is exaggerated to magnify how crazy the high school experience is to the point that none of the plot feels realistic. Football players never take their uniforms off. Teachers will say a single statement and then have no other plans for their lecture. The principal refers to students as “ugly, untalented gays” over the intercom. One student is even seen in a cage for the majority of his screen time without mention of why he is there. The writers manage to pull this off while making sure that every character is fully realized, complex and makes decisions that resonate with the audience.

While the story is over the top, the struggles that the main characters confront are grounded and relatable. Both main characters have doubts that the girls they are trying to impress are even lesbians in the first place. Both characters grapple with the fact that they are falling in love with people whom they have no guarantee will fall in love with them in return. The awkwardness, anxiety and uncomfortability of these situations are enough to make any viewer immediately sympathize with the two protagonists. This is, in part, thanks to not only the writing but also to the performances of Edebiri and Sennott. The two leads feel like best friends, and their deliverance of both emotional and comedic scenes make me excited for any future projects the two actresses will be involved with. 

Ruby Cruz and former NFL player Marshawn Lynch also turn in extremely strong side characters, with Lynch delivering a performance surpassing anything he may have accomplished with the Seahawks. Don’t be surprised if his scenes are the ones your theater laughs the hardest at.

In a summer full of blockbuster double features, this movie is not going to be the one that breaks the box office or sets the internet ablaze. In fact, this movie probably won’t make it to many big award ceremonies. However,  this is likely going to be the movie with the biggest percentage of the audience walking out feeling seen and understood. Check it out if you want to see a movie that truly never bottoms out.