- Movie Rating -

Bottoms (2023)

| August 26, 2023

The first thing to note about the new comedy Bottoms is that it is not playing in the real world.  Rather Writer/Director Emma Seligman and her screenwriting partner Rachel Scott have collaborated to tell a story that exists less in the world of The Breakfast Club and more in the surreal world of something like Heathers.  The characters are bigger, then plot more outlandish and the setting seems other-worldly.  It’s a satire from start to bottom.

I grew up with the comedies of John Hughes, but Bottoms takes place in a universe that Hughes couldn’t dream of.  The high school here is surrealist, the characters are stock characters, parental and authority figures are a distance mystery and the plot is absurd.  But that only functions to clear out the real-world clutter.  The movie flies where others walk.

Bottoms is a variation of all of those horny teenager movies that I experienced as a teenager; adventures of high school boys whose forward trajectory was to slip into bed with the hottest girls they could find.  That temper has been relayed here by high school girls P.J. (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri), out and out lesbians whose absurd mission is the bed down with the pretty girls through a bizarre plan is to start a self-defense club despite having no idea what that entails – its more a Fight Club than Self-Defense.

The free-floating nature of the characters, that is, the surreal nature of everything gives the comedy more room to breathe.  I’ll admit I was a little put off by that approach but once I cut loose from my expectations, I began to enjoy the film a lot more than I though that I would.  Yet, personally, I enjoy something a little more grounded like Booksmart.  That film had the same high-flying spirit but I felt it was a little closer to the ground, and I could identify with it.  This one seems a little less so.

But I’m back and forth.  I so appreciate the efforts of director Seligman, who three years ago, surprised everyone with the delightful Shiva Baby, a film that got her the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards and I look forward to seeing what she is going to do next.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2023) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy