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Having made a successful debut with the film “Shiva Baby,” Emma Seligman, a director, reunites with Rachel Sennott in this unsettling comedy like no other. It is about two lesbian best friends named PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri). They find themselves embroiled in an adventure that might make them popular at school and allow them to date their crushes – tall Brittany (Kaia Gerber) for PJ and tiny Isabel (Havana Rose Liu) for Josie. Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine), the school’s beefy quarterback is dating Isabel who has a very close friend by name Tim (Miles Fowler). 

For no reason known to anyone but themselves, PJ and Josie are joined by another outsider from their class Hazel (Ruby Cruz) and a high school teacher known as Mr. G played by Marshawn Lynch who is also experiencing some personal crisis. These four teamed up and started a fighting club/self-defense lessons with nothing at all to show they were fit enough or authorized to go on attacking others in the other school that had more students than theirs’. 

“Bottoms” which was co-scripted by both Seligman and Sennott happens to be hilarious because it messes around when it wants to. The two have created an over-the-top world where everything that happens doesn’t always make sense; but this is what makes it so intriguing. Maria Rusche’s cinematography gives us dreary blue halls, forcing us lower down into our seats so that if we’re not among those at the top of the food chain we can finally feel completely alienated. Their teacher says simple things, doesn’t explain them further then lets kids go back to doing what they want while getting busy reading magazines he knows children shouldn’t read discussing his impending divorce.

In one classroom scene early on there’s a student caged without a word. Later we find out he is the school’s best wrestler and is probably allowed out only when it’s time for matches. For some unknown reason, the football players are always in their uniforms. PJ mentions feminism as one of the reasons why they should start this fight club/self-defense group but Josie contradicts her saying that she really hates everything feminism stands for. The two girls spread a rumor about themselves having been in juvie all summer long with Josie making up stories of great struggle to their classmates’ horror.

Many songs are used in background including tracks like Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” which also features karaoke and modern tunes produced by Leo Birenberg and Charli XCX. Tune after tune, these scenes fit into each other like pieces of candy moving along a conveyor belt.

There is one moment where “Bottoms” drops its comedic tone for a second to have P.J., Josie, Hazel and everyone else in their club get serious momentarily together. Then, on Hazel’s suggestion that they know more about their members, they go to the basketball court where one-by-one, they share stories of assault experiences; stalkers and the consequent frustration over police indifference towards such issues. This moment doesn’t last long before Jo narrates on her part during her ‘stint’ at juvie. Still though, it is an apt reference to the actual violence young women of today go through before proceeding back to the haphazard training they were engaged in just now.

The movie “Bottoms” is a parody of high school movies where the actors look like they are in their thirties or thereabout. The film is about a bunch of teenagers that are about to finish high school and still have not matured as such the story line revolves around PJ and Josie who learn the hard way with a lot of blood, bruises, and cuts. “Bottoms” attacks teen movies by John Hughes at its core, just picking up from where things for girls usually end—being wallflowers with puckered lips or loners until someone helps them change their style. They are the strange ones; they are the geeks. Let them fail, be gross, tell nasty jokes and hurt themselves. Seligman and Sennott must be thinking what was funny about this up to the point where blooper reel starts rolling along.

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