The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | ‘Bottoms’ is a hilarious and heartfelt portrayal of identity, friendship, and fight clubs

“Bottoms,” a new high school comedy from director Emma Seligman, features friendship, feminism, football, and fight clubs. Its uniquely funny tone and fantastic cast make it a must-see for any comedy fan.
Cody Blissett
A FilmScene at the Chauncey sign is seen in Iowa City on July 13, 2023.

“Bottoms” writer and director Emma Seligman brings her witty character-driven directorial style to this raunchy high school comedy, a story of two unpopular girls on a mission to lose their virginities in their senior year of high school. 

The plot may sound familiar, but its execution is fresh; high school seniors PJ and Josie, played by co-writer Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri respectively, decide to start a fight club to impress their cheerleader crushes. 

From there, the film only gets more absurd in the best way possible. It has a unique comedic tone that must be seen to be understood. It almost felt like the whole story took place in an alternate reality. Characters are living stereotypes, high school serves as a vehicle for a decades-long local football rivalry, and outright violence isn’t out of the ordinary. Its setting felt surreal, similar to “Mean Girls.”

Despite jokes flying from all directions all the time, the characters ended up feeling real and believable. PJ and Josie’s relationship was endearing, and I was invested in their dynamic throughout the whole runtime. 

Everyone in the cast did a fantastic job, but who stood out to me was former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch playing fight club supervisor Mr. G. 

Mostly improvised, Lynch’s performance stole the show with dozens of strongly delivered lines. His character had the most amusing arc and reminded me of Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Ken in this summer’s hit “Barbie.”  

There were jokes scattered throughout the background of scenes, too. Signs displaying wacky messages, funny extras, and characters having sidebar discussions while the main scenes played out made the movie feel easily rewatchable to find all the background comedy.

Without giving too much away, comedy movie fans will be very pleased to hear that “Bottoms” revives the long-dead tradition of blooper reels during the credits, and it is iconic. 

The film doesn’t disappoint with action, either. Every punch looked like it hurt, and every knee to the groin — of which there were many — felt brutal. The movie was a lot bloodier than I expected, but it was a welcome surprise given how well-shot and choreographed each fight scene was. 

RELATED: Review | ‘Kokomo City’ depicts the hardships of Black, transgender individuals

Charli XCX and Leo Birenberg’s music was a highlight of the film, with catchy scores that effectively established the tone. Plus, there were a few iconic needle drops that are sure to satisfy both Generation Z and Millennial audience members. 

It was refreshing to see a comedy film starring two lesbian main characters who are not afraid to embrace themes of empowerment, while also delivering a genre story with lots of laughs. 

“Bottoms” reminded me that comedy is for everyone and can be made by anyone.

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About the Contributors
Charlie Hickman
Charlie Hickman, Arts Reporter
Charlie Hickman is a sophomore at the University of Iowa. He is majoring in English on the Pre-Law track with minors in Political Science and Cinema.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.