Tropic Sprockets / Bottoms
By Ian Brockway
In 2020, Director, Emma Seligman directed the unusual debut “Shiva Baby,” a funereal comedy laced with claustrophobic elements of Larry David and Ari Aster. Now her latest film “Bottoms” takes a more kitschy route, though it is still in keeping with Seligman’s eccentricity.
PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edeberi) are high school best friends who are lesbian. Because they are somewhat bookish, they feel left out. At a carnival, they meet Isabel (Havana Rose Liu) who is harassed by football star Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine) in a display of toxic masculinity. Isabel gets in PJ’s car, and they knock Jeff down.
The pair get called into the office and they explain they had no choice as to their actions as they were only training for a self-defense club. The principal accepts the story and PJ is forced to form an actual defense club with combat training.
The dialogue is hectic and staccato, and the action is madcap. Despite some overly silly humor involving effeminate football, the one liners are pointed, despite their odd corniness.
Both PJ and Josie are authentic.
Pro Football player Marshawn Lynch appears as an out of touch sex obsessed teacher while Saturday Night Live’s Punkie Johnson has a good outing delivering her very funny lines.
While the episodes are quite like a cartoon with lots of in jokes that seem improvisational and private, the film has a subversive edge reminiscent of “Heathers” (1989) or the work of John Waters.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org