Posted on August 24, 2023 at 5:57 pmB +
|Lowest Recommended Age:||Mature High Schooler|
|MPAA Rating:||Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language and some violence|
|Profanity:||Very strong and crude language|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Graphic violence including punching, martial arts, some disturbing images, some "comic" deaths|
|Diversity Issues:||A theme of the movie|
|Date Released to Theaters:||August 25, 2023|
“Bottoms” is a cheerfully deranged take on the classic high school underdog story and I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s a twisted take on the classic story of teenagers who want to have sex and be popular. Usually, that story is about boys. Almost always, it is about heterosexuals. This time, in a film written by director Emma Seligman and star Rachel Sennott, it is about two queer BFFs, not romantic partners, and the title comes from their status at the bottom of the ultra-hierarchy of their school. It is not because they are gay; lots of gay kids are popular. It is because they are “gay, ugly, and untalented,” at least from the narrow perspective of high school.
They both have impossible crushes. PJ (Sennott) yearns for Brittany (Kaia Gerber, with the supermodel bearing of her mother, Cindy Crawford). Josie (breakout star Ayo Edebiri) longs for the lovely Isabel (Havana Rose Liu), who is the girlfriend of the school’s star quarterback, Jeff (breakout star Nicholas Galitzine).
No one is even pretending to care about them or their education, including their principal (Wayne Pére) and their teacher, Mr. G. (a hilarious performance by football star Marshawn Lynch). The girls decide to start a self-defense fight club, despite having no ability or qualifications, because they think it might attract and impress Brittany and Isabel. Shockingly, Mr. G. agrees to be their sponsor. Even more shockingly, Brittany and Isabel show up. And most shocking of all, the girls in the group beat each other up and somehow feel empowered by it.
The girls have lied, though, about more than their intentions and skills. They said they learned to be tough when they were in juvie. They are so thrilled with how well the club is working, especially after Josie gets to comfort Isabel after she finds out Jeff has been cheating on her, that they do not think about what will happen when they are exposed.
Sennott, Galitzine, and Edebiri are a decade older than the characters they are playing, but this is not a movie that is going for realism. It is also not a movie that, like “PEN15” wants you to know that adults are playing teenagers. It just invites us into a world where somehow this all makes sense, and we are happy to follow along because the characters and situations are completely crazy but very funny. Heightened, even bizarre tones work well in stories of adolescence because that is a heightened, bizarre time of life. Every emotion and especially every humiliation seems so vitally important and earth-shaking, and the family support system that has been there all your life (if you are lucky) suddenly seems useless and incapable of understanding.
Galitzine could not be further from the elegant, refined, British prince he plays in “Red, White & Royal Blue.” His Jeff is an arrogant idiot and very funny. Edebiri (also in “The Bear” and “Theater Camp”) is a non-stop delight, with the most expressive face you will see on screen this year and a knock-out sense of timing. Needless to say, this movie is not for everyone, but those who appreciate subversive and transgressive humor will have a blast.
Parents should know that this movie has non-stop strong and crude language, a reference to suicide of a teenager, violence that becomes lethal, disturbing and graphic images, explicit sexual references and non-explicit sexual situations.
Family discussion: Is there anything in this movie that resembles your high school experience? What will happen next?
If you like this, try: “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” “Book Smart,” “Heathers,” and “Polite Society”