Starring Ayo Edibiri, Rachel Sennott and Ruby Cruz, Bottoms is the latest teen sex comedy that hopes to capture this generation’s attention. Directed by Emma Seligman, the story of Bottoms follows best friends PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Edibiri) as they try and lose their virginity. These two are sick and tired of being called the “ugly lesbians”, so when opportunity meets dumb luck they strike hard and fast. They hope to capitalise on female students looking for safety as an avenue to possibly get with the girls of their dreams.
I didn’t love Bottoms. The two leads are fairly unlikeable, both PJ and Josie are fairly mean-spirited. Josie is to a lesser degree, but that’s one of the few positives I can say about them. There is also the absurdist humour that didn’t land nearly enough. The film at times feels like a parody, but they play everything straight so it’s an odd clashing of tones. This is a real shame because when the humour works, it works well. Then there is the pacing of the film which was all over the place. Within the hour-and-a-half runtime, the narrative tries to squeeze in these apparent moments of growth in the group. In my opinion, there is only one scene where this happens. It unfortunately involves Josie continuing to lie to her newfound friends.
What I did like about Bottoms was characters like Hazel played by Ruby Cruz. She’s a sweet character with a lot of heart and some of the funniest scenes in the film. Also, I will say again, when the humour lands it is great. It’s just few and far between. Another element of the film that I loved was the score. It’s ethereal, emotional and strangely nostalgic. It brought back feelings of when I was in secondary school pining after girls. It’s easily one of the best parts of the film.
Ultimately, Bottoms is a fine film. It’s nothing special and there are better films out there that do what it does better. These films include Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You as well as the more recent Blockers. If it had leaned further into the absurd comedy or gone more straight it would have worked better. Unfortunately, it’s in this weird nebulous position. Not quite funny to land the laughs, and not quite true to life to get the full emotional impact out of its audience.
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