Bottoms is an absurd, teen comedy that follows the two best friends PJ and Josie, played by the talented and hilariously funny duo of Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri, as they form a fight club at school in an attempt to seduce and sleep with two girls from the cheerleading squad. This concept that the films narrative hinges on offers up loads of potential for the film to really lean into the camp aspects, and wow does Emma Seligman, the director, not disappoint.
Both Ayo and Rachel deliver pitch perfect performances, with both their individual styles of comedy working well to compliment one another’s, creating a chemistry that is extremely enjoyable to watch. The chemistry between the two is definitely helped by the fact that both have worked together frequently on sketches in the past, allowing them to have a great foundation of friendship to work off of, which seamlessly translated to screen and helped let the story appear much more real and authentic for the viewers.
Ayo in particular has a scene that, without spoiling it, involves her and Rachel sat in a car as she rants and rambles about what her future may hold. The scene was entirely improvised by Ayo Edebiri which allows for the comedy to flow so naturally as she manages to pack in and land a ton of jokes that had both me, and the rest of the audience I watched with, in pieces. Bottoms is easily a standout role for Ayo, in a year where she’s had great success with movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and Theatre Camp, as well as the critically acclaimed TV show The Bear.
Rachel and Ayo are also able to flourish in the film due to the support of an incredible ensemble cast that are all given their moments to shine. Ruby Cruz (Hazel) and Zamani Wilder (Annie), who both are members of Josie and PJ’s fight club add such comedic value to the film, as do Kaia Gerber (Brittany) and Havana Rose Liu (Isabel), playing the cheerleaders and main love interests for PJ and Josie. However, when thinking of the comedy this ensemble cast brought with it, two characters immediately come to mind: Nicholas Galitzine as Jeff and Mashawn Lynch as Mr G.
Nicholas Galizine has had a particularly great year for his career, much like Ayo Edebiri, after having a breakout lead role over summer in the gay teen romance flic Red, White and Royal Blue. But his character in Bottoms, Jeff, couldn’t be further from the royal prince Henry we’d seen him as before. Here, Galitzine gets to show off his talents in comedy, with his satirical portrayal of this teen jock, football captain. The character in itself is wildly funny in how it represents jocks, both presenting as extremely macho and yet undeniably flamboyant, a combination that only adds to the absurdity of the film.
As for Mashawn Lynch, who’s most well know for being an American football player, his performance as Mr G may be the funniest performance of the entire film. His character toes the line of being a typical misogynistic, male teacher, whilst still having a genuine care and respect for his students. Every line and how its delivered by Lynch lands absolutely perfectly, and much like Jeff, the satirical, tongue in cheek nature of the character brilliantly matches everyone he shares a scene with.
Overall, Bottoms manages to deliver exactly what it set out to: an unapologetically gay, completely absurd, teen comedy. It's so important we get movies like these because, whilst the film is so satirical that it couldn’t possibly be set in the same reality we live in, it's still so amazing to see gay teenagers exist on the screen and behave how they do. Bottoms is easily one of the most enjoyable watches I have had this year and I couldn’t recommend this film enough. If you’re looking for a movie full of lesbians, women fighting and fun, absurdist comedy, THIS is the film for you!