Starring: Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, Havana Rose Liu, Kaia Gerber, Nicholas Galitzine, Dagmara Domińczyk, and Marshawn Lynch
Director: Emma Seligman
Bottoms invents its own brand of stylish and outside-the-box comedy that manages to feel nostalgic yet fresh. It’s a unique, absurd, and elevated flick that is destined to become a high school cult classic. The hilarious script is filled with quotable dialogue, allowing Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott to shine as a dynamic comedic duo. At a brisk 90 minute runtime, it’s safe to say that Bottoms is this year’s best comedy, and I truly hope director Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott never stop working together because they have once again delivered a knockout film.
Bottoms packs enough laughs to fuel a dozen sex comedies, and makes it look easy in the process. Director Emma Seligman’s latest outing fully immerses itself into the absurdity and surrealism of high school, playing out like an energetic teenage fever dream. The impeccable direction is bolstered by hilarious performances from Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri, whose comedic chemistry is off the charts. The climax feels slightly rushed, and certain characters could have been more developed, but these issues don’t take away much from the film. In the end, Bottoms is undeniably hilarious, and that’s all it really needed to be.
Bottoms won’t be for everybody. It’s 90 minutes of seemingly non-stop improvisation, irreverently raunchy humor, and parody-level plot points. While Ayo Edebiri and Marshawn Lynch navigate this with sincere charm, the rest of the cast and dialogue epitomizes “let’s throw absolutely everything at the screen and see if it sticks.” Half of it does…half of it really, really doesn’t. It’s clear that Bottoms wants to, and sometimes successfully does, show that female-led comedies can be as provocative as their male counterparts, but when they spell it out with little-to-no audience interpretation, it just feels stupid.
Writer/director Emma Seligman continues her establishment as a great comedic filmmaker. While not as raunchy as some of 2023’s other summer comedies, Bottoms might well be the best of them all. A Fight Club-meets-high school laughfest, the film echoes 80s genre tropes while smashing them through a modern absurdist lens, creating one of the most pure, fun moviegoing experiences of the year. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri are typically excellent, but it’s the supporting actors who steal the show, including a charmingly understated Havana Rose Liu and delightfully dumb Nicholas Galitzine (even Marshawn Lynch has a few great moments).
With its constant barrage of the crudest wisecracks it can muster, Bottoms is the type of refuse that makes me fear for the state of our collective future. I realize this view may paint me as an old curmudgeon, but I likewise recognize that many will love this film. Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott perform admirably despite my distaste for director Emma Seligman’s preference for outright “spray and pray” bawdiness over comedic timing. If you think you can handle a movie with a full cast of only Eastbound and Down’s Kenny Powers (Danny McBride), you might enjoy this one.
Bottoms is the kind of movie that I yearn for: a comedy so outrageous, silly, and hilarious that it sticks with you purely due to the entertainment value. It has a high joke-per-minute ratio, and since the jokes rarely miss, it’s never exhausting. Bottoms’ universe is very heightened, and thankfully, the amazing cast are all in on the joke, and as silly as it all is, it still has the heart a good high school comedy should have. Bottoms is a must-see for anyone hoping for a good comedy film.