The other day my roommate and I went to see Bottoms, a film we’ve been looking forward to for almost a year now. Why? Because we both love Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri. Also because it’s a silly queer comedy that appealed to the both of us. Certainly a movie that passes the Bechdel test (an irrelevant, often ill-used measurement of feminism in films, but that’s a whole other story), Bottoms is an unapologetically raunchy comedy. More specifically, it’s the kind of comedy that we need more of: the kind that deserves to be watched in theaters filled with people laughing right beside you.
In early August of this year, Gainesville was one of 3 cities, including Seattle and Toronto, that won an exclusive early screening for the film. Unfortunately I did not get to see the movie early, but when it finally came to theaters for its opening weekend, my roommate and I had a blast. Although my initial thoughts were mostly surface-level quips about my obsession with one particular character (if you know, you know), I absolutely loved Bottoms and I think it’s exactly what comedies should aspire to be.
Bottoms follows two lesbian high school seniors who make a vow to lose their virginities before graduation. So, Josie and PJ, played by Edebiri and Sennott, start a fight club under the guise of teaching self-defense to other girls. Eventually, they’re able to get their crushes to join, and their plan actually works. Well, sorta. Though the pair of best friends ultimately bring the girls of the school together through their club, it backfires on them when their true intentions are revealed. What can I say, teenage girls aren’t perfect.
This film has taken the suggestive, crude humor of 2000s comedies, such as Superbad and American Pie, and made it Gen Z. Bottoms does not hold back in any shape or form. It’s hilarious, honest, and extremely impractical, but that’s exactly what makes it work. Over the top comedies have been missing from cinema for far too long, and it’s time we bring them back.
However, Bottoms is more than just what I predict to be a new cult classic. It’s a big step towards better representation. The fact that we’re able to see an upbeat, queer film with characters just being silly and outrageous on the big screen is huge. Yes, seeing stories of LGBTQ+ trauma is important for audiences in order for them to see and understand the hardships this community goes through, but queer stories are not just one thing—not all of them are tragic.
Credit: Entertainment Tonight
With model-turned-actress Kaia Gerber and newcomer Havana Rose Liu acting alongside rising stars Sennott and Edebiri, this cast should’ve attracted much more attention to the film than it has so far. Unfortunately, Bottoms hasn’t done so well at the box office, garnering U.S. box office numbers of $7 million in its first three weeks. If the film has a rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, why aren’t more people flocking to theaters to see it? (IMDbPro)
“It's very cool for me to be a young Black woman and have parts like these…It's radical that I get to be like a young Black queer person doing something stupid in a movie.”
Well, clearly, this film has a specific demographic it’s catering to. And no, I don’t just mean lesbian teenagers. Bottoms appeals to a certain audience, most of whom fall into some marginalized group or another. Taking this into consideration, maybe it’s not that important for it to be a box office success. Maybe it’s just important that the right people see this, and that the people this movie was made for watch and enjoy it.
For example, Edebiri herself made this comment about playing Josie, “It's very cool for me to be a young Black woman and have parts like these…It's radical that I get to be like a young Black queer person doing something stupid in a movie.” Not only is Bottoms a leap towards better representation for the queer community, but it’s a step forward for Black representation as well. Edebiri is right. It is radical that she can play a Black queer person doing dumb things for an hour and a half. It’s radical because for years, Black people, especially Black women, have been portrayed in roles where they’re used as punchlines, sidekicks that are pushed to the side, or characters with some kind of trauma they’re going through. (Komonibo)
Credit: Daily Bruin
Fortunately, the film industry has definitely made strides in recent years in portraying the Black community in a positive light, and Bottoms is one of the best examples of that. Black, POC, and queer joy is so important to see on the screen, and this film shows it all.
Even though the movie has what some might consider outdated high school tropes, like the star football player a—hole who’s dating one of the main love interests, director Emma Seligman has taken these tropes and reworked them to fit a different, fresh narrative. Bottoms is a comedy with something for everyone, and if you haven’t already, you need to check it out.
Hannah Barnes is a second-year Film and Television major and an online writer for Rowdy Magazine. In her spare time, she can be found watching edits of The Bear or trying to make her own.