It’s been a long time since teen movies have been truly great. There hasn’t been a movie quite like “Heathers” or “Clueless” to hit theaters in a while. Most of them go straight to streaming services instead, and as a result, become less of an event. “Bottoms,” though, has been able to push past this predetermined destiny and became the sleeper hit of the summer.
The second feature film from Canadian director Emma Seligman stars Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri, who play PJ and Josie, two lesbian high school seniors who start a “female empowerment” fight club in order to lose their virginities.
This film is a welcome return to the raunchy sex comedies from the 80s and 90s, but with a modern twist. The characters deliver lines that elicit laugh-out-loud responses, but don’t feel awkwardly trapped in a decade past, proving that there’s a way to update these films while still being funny.
The driving force of the film is the relationship between Josie and cheerleader Isabel (Havana Rose Liu). Josie finds herself developing romantic feelings for Isabel, but cannot pursue her with a straightforward approach.
Throughout the one-hour, thirty-two-minute run time, we see Josie and Isabel struggle with their feelings amidst common rom-com tropes, like the nerdy guy pursuing the popular girl (as seen in the film “10 Things I Hate About You”). However, replacing the typical guy-girl pairing with two girls subverts expectation and makes our queer female characters a lot more multifaceted.
The film also makes fun of stereotypes like the dumb jock, a role portrayed brilliantly by actor Nicholas Galitzine. His character Jeff is the football team’s quarterback and Josie’s romantic rival. He and his teammates sit atop the school pyramid and desire to keep it that way.
Another surprise standout of the cast is real-life football player Marshawn Lynch, who plays Mr. G, the teacher who supervises the fight club. He has solid comedic timing and provides an old-school, nineties charm.
Although the film is largely comedic, it comments on feminism, interfemale relationships and what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal society.
“Bottoms” is the perfect film to see with friends or a significant other. It’s funny, smart, cute, romantic and will surely surprise you, one way or another.