Review: Bottoms –

Reviewer rating: 1412/2568

Bottoms is a film with a fully bonkers premise. Two lesbian excessive schoolers need to hook up with two of the favored sizzling cheerleaders and devise a plan to begin a highschool combat membership to lure them in with the promise of feminine empowerment. The obvious motive for the necessity to defend themselves is {that a} rival highschool’s gamers are attacking feminine members of the highschool and beating them up (not that that is seen even as soon as). As one rapidly discovers, Bottoms exists in some adjoining universe the place absurd violence is permissible and accepted, so there’s no considered getting the police concerned.

Bottoms is a little bit of a tonal mess. It pivots backwards and forwards between eager to have an affecting friendship between its two lead characters (finest mates since elementary college), romantic relationships, commentary on feminism and feminine solidarity, and loopy, over-the-top antics. Whereas director Emma Seligman does her finest to stability these tones, and there are many humorous moments all through, Bottoms fails to discover a constant middle for the movie, leading to wild tonal whiplash.

It is a movie the place a highschool male athlete assaults a feminine member of the combat membership throughout a pep rally and beats the crap out of her. The combat culminates within the male kicking her throughout the face whereas she is inclined on the bottom as a kind of ending transfer. This additionally kicks off the tip of the second act, the place our protagonists have been outed as mendacity about sure issues and all the pieces is in decline. Do the academics, administration, or safety of this college care or do something about this? Completely not. With out giving an excessive amount of away, a number of individuals find yourself violently murdered, a improvement that’s each ignored and celebrated inside the logic of the movie.

To some extent it is a nostalgic nod to 80s intercourse comedies. The titles and different lettering all use a heavy metal-inspired font, and the film embraces the identical diploma of absurdity {that a} Zucker and Abrams or Harold Ramis movie would possibly. Whereas these movies are combined luggage in some respects, they did have the nice sense to remain per their tone. They have been absurd and remained absurd all through, not asking the viewers for emotional funding or ever main one to consider there have been actual individuals or conditions concerned.

That isn’t the case with Bottoms, which tries to make us care concerning the interior workings of the relationships of the 2 leads, PJ and Josie, and the ladies they pursue. Whereas this strategy tries so as to add a bit extra depth to an in any other case easy comedy and make it “about” one thing, it merely doesn’t work with the ridiculous in-universe occurrences. One feels adrift within the 96-minute movie that leaves you confused on the right way to really feel from scene to scene.

Bottoms isn’t a catastrophe per se. Many scenes work nicely in and of themselves. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri are fairly good actresses, even when the movie tends to comply with the fashionable pattern of utilizing semi-sarcastic rambling as an alternative to humor. When it really works, it really works, as in an early scene the place Edebiri’s Josie goes on and on about how skinny her crush is. The movie’s flippant strategy to graphic violence additionally ends in a number of laugh-out-loud moments the place the highschool girls are actually beating the crap out of one another. It’s not one thing you’re used to seeing, and it feels prefer it’s pushing a boundary of some form. Former NFL participant Marshawn Lynch seems in a small position because the instructor sponsor of the combat membership, however whereas the script fingers him some funny-ish moments the place he feedback on feminine points, Lynch is sadly from the adverse aspect of superstar stunt casting and lacks any actual sense of comedic timing. There’s actually worse on the market, however Lynch doesn’t appear sure for a Hollywood profession.

One needs Bottoms have been higher. It has the potential to be a extremely nice movie, however the director and author and editor all wanted to get it to a spot that felt extra constant. It both wanted to attempt to keep extra grounded, or, alternatively, eschew makes an attempt at seriousness and lean much more closely into outright farce. The center floor it tries to strike renders Bottoms a muddled work and never as satisfying as one hopes.