The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

“Bottoms”: The Comedy of the Year


Bobcats, prepare for the best comedy of the year! Recently, I noticed a pungent wave of stress blowing throughout campus. Classes are in full swing, extracurriculars are overwhelmingly busy and athletes are on the go for away games. The cure to all this madness is the most mindless, campy fun you will have in a long time: Bottoms.

Directed by Emma Seligman, “Bottoms” is a clever high-school satire about two unpopular lesbians who try to win over their hot cheerleading crushes by… starting a fight club. Emma Seligman co-wrote the film with frequent collaborator, Rachel Sennott, who stars as PJ, delivering a powerful punch with its sharp writing and keen awareness of high-school film conventions.

Seligman and Sennott previously worked together in the anxiety-inducing comedy, “Shiva Baby” (2020) when they met while studying film at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Initially a short film for their thesis project, “Shiva Baby” expanded to become a low-budget feature film with another NYU grad Katie Schiller producing. Garnering significant critical acclaim, Seligman’s directorial debut revealed her deft ability to find humor in the most humorless of settings—a Jewish funeral. With a significantly larger budget and the star power of co-lead Ayo Edebiri, “Bottoms” is a stunning sophomore film for Seligman and Sennott. 

“Bottoms” is the perfect outlet for any school-related anxieties. While this film takes place at a high school, its absurdist depiction makes academia non-existent; the teachers, students, custodians, librarians, etc. are all horny; the school newspaper distributes sexually provocative school magazines (let us know if The Student should consider this route) with shirtless photos of the football team. Former Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch plays a ludicrous teacher whose lectures take the form of the following: “The Holocaust. It happened.” He naturally becomes the faculty advisor to the most violent club imaginable: women beating each other to a pulp with orgasmic smiles on their faces. 

This is uproarious humor: kicking-your-legs-whilst-tears-stream-down-your-face funny. It is simply hilarious for the sake of being hilarious. It is easily the most laughs per minute I have ever experienced since “Borat”. Innocuously pushing the scope of high-school comedies, “Bottoms” does not believe in making its characters particularly interesting or talented. Unlike most high-school comedies, none of the students have ambitions or are on track to attend an Ivy League school. With a tagline identifying its leads as “untalented gays,” “Bottoms” prefers a more titillating approach: the chaos of gay horniness. 

In all the ways David Fincher’s “Fight Club” crucifies toxic masculinity’s habit of obscene violence, “Bottoms” functions contrarily. The fun stems from its female characters finding a gushy heart—instead of a different body part—amidst the violence. I swear on my entire being, this is the most goofy fun you will have at the cinema this year because the film is uninterested in taking itself seriously. 

With the raunchy provocation of “Borat” and the relatability of “Superbad” mixed in with the heart of “Booksmart,” “Bottoms” serves up a delectable final product thanks to its fair-game cast. In particular, Edebiri shows comedic versatility with some stellar awkward humor that is quintessentially queer; her improvised emotional spiral of a future in a loveless heterosexual marriage is nothing short of brilliant—a welcome addition to her already strong year (“The Bear,” “Theater Camp”). Sennott easily secures the most laughs with her bombastic delivery and ability to relish the ridiculousness of her character’s dubious intentions.

The supporting cast is just as strong. Lynch is the most welcome surprise with scene-stealing infection as well as Nicholas Galitzine’s campy caricature of the star quarterback. 

Seligman caps the film off with a blooper reel as an ode to the 2000s comedies she references, including “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Bring It On,” “Zoolander,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Jennifer’s Body,” and “Shaun of the Dead.”

Although “Bottoms” is playing in limited theaters, the 45-minute trip to Portland’s Nickelodeon Cinemas is beyond worth it. Conveniently, Filmboard will be sponsoring a film screening for “Bottoms” in the next month; you can register for updates on the exact date by subscribing to Filmboard’s messages on Bates Engage. So, if you have been desperately seeking a comedy, get off your “Bottoms” and make the trip to Portland!

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About the Contributor
Ana Fowler, Managing Arts & Leisure Editor
Ana is a senior from Westfield, NJ double-majoring in English and Politics. In her free time, Ana enjoys singing with her a cappella group, photosynthesizing in the quad or at the beach, kicking the soccer ball around with buddies, and seeing live music. Previously, Ana served as a Contributing Writer for The Student.

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