Lex Briscuso


Bottoms – first-look review

Ayo Edibiri and Rachel Sennott star as teenagers who start an all-female fight club at their high school in Emma Seligman's raunchy sophomore feature.

In a world that seems to be moving backwards fast, it feels good when a movie acknowledges the general horniness of human nature. Sex is a normal, instinctual act and one that should come with very little shame, despite the overwhelmingly negative attention it has been receiving over the past few years.

There used to be a time in movies, not too long ago, when sex comedies were not only completely normal, they were celebrated and beloved by anyone and everyone who likes to laugh. They were a poignant mirror into the hilarity of connection and the sparks that can fly when things align just right. If you find yourself lamenting this loss, look no further than Bottoms, the latest star vehicle for dynamic duo Ayo Edibiri and Rachel Sennott, sure to revolutionize the subgenre and shows the world has changed in a lot of ways, most of them for the better.

Emma Seligman’s second feature film follows two deeply unpopular and very gay high school BFFs Josie (Edebiri) and PJ (Sennott), who are heading into their senior year determined – like many high school sex comedy vets before them – to lose their virginity before graduation. After a rival high school football team is caught assaulting weak students from their school ahead of a monumental head-to-head game, the girls hatch a plan to start a fight club to get a chance with a pair of cheerleaders they’re crushing on. Naturally, chaos ensues.

Edibiri and Sennott are a comedic dream team, and their previous years of working together have cultivated a connection that is palpable on screen. The friendship their characters share is so believable, there’s almost no chance you didn’t know a pair of friends like them in high school. This film also has the motherload of supporting players, all of which give everything they’ve got. This makes for a very rich and unique set of characters that can both function as great joke setups, as well as crucial and emotionally driven vehicles that move the plot forward.

There’s no denying the film is blisteringly funny, thanks to the script Seligman told the SXSW audience she and Sennott started writing six years ago, which leans into a lot of high school tropes while taking into account how teens of today really speak, react, and think. The comedy feels specifically current while being so palatable for those outside of Gen Z. A lot of the jokes rely on tone from the actor, which helps their universality, but overall, you don’t have to be part of any particular generation to find the comedy of the film to be effective. The laughter is quite simply infectious.

The film also has a dark tinge, and features its fair share of bloody violence, which is an excellent mechanic through which to push the ending into raunchier territory, while also serving as a source of empowerment, not just brutality, for audience and character alike. The final act montage is a particularly effective set piece that brings utter delight and satisfaction to viewers, while also showing off some really smart fight choreography that gives all the girls their time in the spotlight.

We have a sexy comedy canon at this point, and it needs more queer stories. This is definitely going to be the first of many new and ambitiously special projects that highlight the gay, lesbian, or bisexual high school experience. Not to say films like that don’t already exist, but it’s clear Bottoms will usher in a new era of these works.

Published 14 Mar 2023

Tags: Emma Seligman Rachel Sennott

Suggested For You

Shiva Baby

By Flora Spencer Grant

Rachel Sennott gives a standout performance in this anxiety-inducing comedy set at a Jewish wake.

review LWLies Recommends

In praise of Shiva Baby and the Messy Bisexual

By Anna Bogutskaya

Emma Seligman’s growing pains comedy ushers in a new era for bi characters who are not judged on their sexuality.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

By Hannah Strong

Halina Reijn's amusing debut feature satirises Gen Z nihilism but doesn't have much to say about the pop culture stereotypes it depicts.


Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.