It’s great to see the careers of Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott taking off. In Bottoms, (2023) they team up for an uneven but appealingly wild satire sending up the teen sex comedy. PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Edebiri) are loser lesbians at a conventional, football-crazed high school. PJ is dead set on connecting with vapid cheerleader Brittany (Kaia Gerber), while less-optimistic Josie has her eye on Brittany’s best friend Isabel (Havana Rose Liu). A fraught encounter with the school principal leads to a brainstorm: an extracurricular self-defense group for women. With the help of their friend Hazel (Ruby Cruz), they form a fight club for women, designed to lure their crushes into their proximity—but unexpectedly preparing them for…other conflicts.
Bottoms drapes a bonkers plot over a familiar, zany framework, and while the humor is uneven, there’s a welcome, go-for-it gusto to its next-level backdrop. Particularly amusing is its depiction of the absurdity of high-school football culture and its blown-out-of-proportion rivalries—embodied with over-the-top brilliance by Miles Fowler and Nicholas Galitzine. But the film belongs to its heroes; the central pairing is delightful, with Edebiri’s low-key sarcasm contrasting nicely with Sennott’s fuck-it verve. Cruz makes a great supporting impression, while the club’s other major figures—Gerber, Liu, Summer Joy Campbell, Zamadi Wilder, and Virginia Tucker—flesh out the ensemble perfectly. Like many satires it has its bumpy patches, but the overall vibe is rallying, and ultimately it goes to refreshingly out-there places.