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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

‘Bottoms:’ What not to do to make your delusions come true

Ayo+Edebiri+%28left%29+and+Rachel+Sennott+%28right%29+in+Bottoms.+Image+courtesy+of+IMDb
Ayo Edebiri (left) and Rachel Sennott (right) in Bottoms. Image courtesy of IMDb

Spoilers Ahead

Bottoms” takes moviegoers back to the classic high school comedy but with what the movie called two “ugly, untalented gays” at the forefront. The new film, directed by Emma Seligman and co-written by Rachel Sennott, who plays PJ, experiments with a different side of queer representation and a needed revisit to absurd cinema as it follows PJ and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) on their journey to lose their virginity before graduation. 

PJ and Josie are social outcasts at Rockbridge Falls, who are painfully single and desperate for the attention of two beautiful cheerleaders, Isabel and Brittany (Havana Rose Liu and Kaia Gerber respectively). At a preschool carnival, the lesbians unsuccessfully try to flirt with them, with PJ leading the awkward exchange and Josie hiding right behind her. What does come out of the carnival, however, is the rumor that PJ and Josie went to juvenile detention over the summer, after making a joke to the earnest but gullible Hazel (Ruby Cruz). The lie is quickly spread throughout the school the next day, and with their new persona, the two start a girls’ self-defense group, or “fight club,” under the guise of female empowerment in hopes of wooing their crushes.

It felt different but exciting to watch a movie where queerness inspired every aspect of the film but did not define the story, giving ample space for the crazy, absurd and unhinged.

 

“Bottoms” is unique in that it allows queer people to be shallow, messy and morally questionable within the backdrop of a satirical comedy, unlike other movies that also feature a queer-centric story. The media that centers queer people often focus on the hardships they face in terms of coming out to their loved ones and facing exclusion and discrimination, which are extremely important subjects to discuss but have come to dominate the stories told about queer people. It is made clear to the audience that PJ and Josie are not in fact feminists, preferring to “empower” only the women they find hot, and the utter abrasiveness of their jokes that take inspiration from Gen Z online humor cannot help but make one reel back and laugh in shock. The two characters are absolutely selfish and delusional, but it is a breath of fresh air to have two lesbians throw away any semblance of social awareness because queer people do not have that privilege in reality. Although love and relationships were central to the plot, the sexualities of the characters weren’t necessarily the main focus. It felt different but exciting to watch a movie where queerness inspired every aspect of the film but did not define the story, giving ample space for the crazy, absurd and unhinged.

Ayo Edebiri’s performance as Josie was especially hilarious, leaning full-stop into the pathetic and socially awkward aspects of her character to do so. Sprinkled throughout the film were her dramatic monologues about Josie’s future as a closeted lesbian married to a church pastor or her “experience” in juvenile detention having to kill people with pipes to survive, which never failed to produce a wave of laughter in the theater. Alongside Rachel Sennott’s PJ, who drove the story with her sarcasm and energy, and former NFL star Marshawn Lynch’s character as an unusual history teacher with a twisted take on feminism, the leading cast shined through “Bottoms” with their raunchy performances.

Underneath the bloody punches and violent kicks the girls practiced on one another after school, the themes of female friendship also began to peek through against the misogyny and toxic masculinity that pervaded Rockbridge Falls. This central part of the movie, however, could have been more developed. While PJ and Josie’s true intentions for starting the fight club were eventually exposed, neither one received the full arc of character development that would have ended the movie without the audience feeling that something was incomplete. The commentary on female solidarity and misogyny within schools was mainly left to off-hand jokes and fight scenes between the girls that could have been fleshed out more within the actual plot of the story.

Despite this aspect of the movie, “Bottoms” is an absolutely hilarious film that everyone should experience at least once. It has redefined the high school comedy on queer terms, and through the sheer talent of the leading cast, the film is paving the way for absurd cinema to once again find its way back into theaters. 

Have you watched “Bottoms?” Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the Contributor
Julia Kim, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Senior Julia Kim is the co-editor-in-chief and Op/Ed editor for Southpaw and Bearing News. They are also co-president of Ethics Bowl and volunteer as a writer for The Xinsheng Project. In their free time, Julia likes to listen to music, read books and learn K-Pop dances.

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