This high-school comedy from director Emma Seligman, co-written by Rachel Sennott, features plenty of laughter, silly antics, and a nod to Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil. The film follows two teenage girls who are best friends and want to explore their sexuality. It has been compared to Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, but with a queer twist and a lack of interest in books from the characters, including the teachers.
PJ (played by Sennott) and Josie (played by Ayo Edebiri) spend time together, obsessing over the two beautiful cheerleaders, Isabel (played by Havana Rose Liu) and Brittany (played by Kaia Gerber), who they are tragically in love with. However, when Josie accidentally hits the star quarterback with her car and he overreacts, PJ and Josie are unfairly labelled as aggressive. In an attempt to gain a feminist and empowering reputation, they start a self-defense “fight club” where they constantly talk about their club. However, their club is taken over by other outcasts, including Hazel (played by Ruby Cruz), who enjoys explosives. One of her explosions coincides with an important moment for PJ and Josie.
Bottoms is actually a bizarrely violent film, and its plot is always teetering on the brink of pure incoherence, but it’s always funny, thanks to the goofy and winning comic presences of Sennott and Edebiri; football star turned actor Marshawn Lynch is amusing as their indulgent, sexist teacher Mr G; while the “bomb attack” sequence to the accompaniment of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart is glorious. As for Seligman and Sennott, in the words of Cole Porter, they’re the top.