Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
How one person decides to make the most intense Horror movie of the 21st first century as their feature debut, then makes one of the gayest and funniest movies of the 21st century as their second feature, never ceases to boggle my mind. Toronto’s Emma Seligman manages to walk that fine line with her (hopeful) new writing partner and star of both of her features, Rachel Sennott. Bottoms is one of the funniest, most hilarious, and absurdly ridiculous movies to ever be told about a lesbian fight club. There is such heart and smarts to the movie that is simply going to create a new modern day classic for all.
Bottoms focuses on two high school seniors, PJ and Josie (played by Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri respectively), who they believe they’re unattractive girls and cannot summon the courage or ability to date their respective crushes. When they attend the annual fair, things get a little out of hand as they run into their crushes, Brittany and Isabel (Kaia Gerber and Havana Rose Liu). Isabel‘s boyfriend Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine) is your typical high school jock/quarterback thinking he’s God’s greatest gift, and then he and Isabel have a falling out. Josie tells Isabel to get in the car with her and PJ. One thing leads to another and the car grazes Jeff who makes it out to be the world’s largest crime against humanity. Rumours start to circulate that PJ and Josle are now certified badasses who beat the crap out of Jeff and those rumours continue to spiral into them being in juvie and so forth.
It really all takes off when PJ and Josie are about to get in some serious trouble at school and decide they want to create a self-defence club, or a ‘gay fight club’ so they can defend themselves against the schools antagonists and the opposing school’s football team. The Principal obliges, because he literally does not care past football and figured this way the girls would get out of his hair. As rumours spread of the fight club, the club consists of PJ and Josie, Hazel (Ruby Cruz). Annie (Zamani Wilder), Sylvie (Summer Joy Campbell) and eventually Isabel, Brittany and Stella-Rebecca (Virginia Tucker). This proves to accomplish what PJ and Josie set out to do originally, shoot their shot with their respective crushes. So what could possibly go wrong?
What makes Bottoms work is the ingenuity from Seligman and Sennott. These two are clearly each other’s muses and inspirations. Once again, they create such a powerful and ingenious movie that packs a hilarious punch, bringing forth such heart and soul. What they manage to create being Co-Writers, Director and star is something so brilliant and magnificent that every moment is created with such precision and magnificence that the Movie leaves an ever-lasting impact on its audience, rarely felt in movies today.
As well, the absolute powerhouse performances from the entire Ensemble Cast in Bottoms are exceptional. The Film echoes Mean Girls, which launched so many careers and had so many solidified stars already. Rachel, Ayo, Ruby, Havana, Kaia and Nicholas are all fantastic, but it is Marshawn Lynch playing Mr. G, who is a scene stealer.
It is rare for a cast to be perfect with each other and against each other and not have a singular weak link, but Bottoms manages to create the perfect world for this undeniably near-perfect movie. An absolute delight top to bottom.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release BOTTOMS September 1, 2023.