Onto the next release of the weekend, and before the main weekend theatrical lot begins, I thought of squeezing in a little English film. With that, I finished watching the new English film Bottoms on the back of a glowing word of mouth that the film had garnered over the previous few days. The idea of a s*x comedy isn’t too novel and that is what made me curious on what the film had to offer, particularly with respect to the concepts of feminism in the age demographic of 20 years and below. When it does come to s*x comedies, there is a sense of patriarchy that rules the roosts wherein the ones featuring males are passed off as enjoyable comedies while the female ones are looked down upon! A couple of months ago, we had witnessed Barbie(no, not a s*x comedy) which catered to a similar sentiment in the whole new space of fun, frolic and pink. So then does Bottoms manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Bottoms follows the story of two unpopular queer students who start a ‘fight club’ in school that starts garnering them more eyeballs than expected. Will the duo become popular enough in school such that they break their virginity through the success of the club? I have tried to keep the description of the story as vague as possible but the story which might seem shallow on the face of it, has layers and layers of satire on various concepts related to the LGBTQ community, the angle of feminism and a searing satire on violence, all wrapped in a sly comedy. To give you a perspective, if Barbie is your thing, you may want to explore Bottoms as well. The screenplay standing at a mere runtime of just 90 minutes makes for a breezy watch with pleasant shockers along the way that will put a wicked smile on your face. But the events are a niche especially with the kind of humour it is catering to.
The drama does open with the introduction of the two protagonists, two ‘losers’ in school who dream of having an affair and sleeping with popular mates from their school. This until the turn of events prompt them to open a ‘Fight Club’ which itself is a homage to the David Fincher classic by the same name. Along the way, the writers try and dig beyond the typical high school s*x comedy by exploring the grey areas surrounding the teenage formative years that are often filled with loneliness and inferiority complex. But there is a conscious effort made to address these issues with a wicked sense of humour, and this is where the viewers will be divided. Either you will love the film or completely dismiss it!
The proceedings are interesting and engrissing given how tactfully the writers explore the concepts of feminism with an additional queer angle while also showcasing the discrimination that is prevalent towards the fairer sex. But the writers also do well in not painting all characters with a generic coat of paint. This, while the focus never shifts from the frivolous tone of the drama that does account for a wicked sense of humour, which even in turn is a satire on violence in many ways. It is all about completely surrendering to the world of the makers to enjoy this flick wholeheartedly.
One tiny flaw in the screenplay was that the entire breakup and patchup between the characters takes place in a space of 20 odd minutes in the events leading up to the final act. Perhaps, the events could have been slightly more fleshed out leading up to the bloodiest final act that I have witnessed in recent times. On a side note, the issues related to domestic violence could have been explored a little more as well. But here is when I get to the phenomenal final act that was gory, bloody and funny in equal measures. The writers do well in accentuating the drama by literally catching the viewers off-guard in a memorable final act. And the bloopers at the end was the icing on the cake! Overall, the screenplay is a niche but goes beyond the ordinary in terms of tackling this genre of a high school s*x comedy.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quirky and go perfectly with the mood of the drama. The BGM is playful and leaves a definite impact. The cinematography is top notch particularly in the dying minutes of the film, wherein a slow motion shot was expertly grafted in the narrative. It also captures the vibe of the drama really well. The editing is sharp and crisp. Director Emma Seligman who had previously directed Shiva Baby, is in top form here. Her ability to generate moments of intrigue while balancing them with humour, is a something that many budding filmmakers could take a leaf out of!
The performances are simply terrific by the ensemble cast. Miles Fowler as Tim and Nicholas Galitzine as Jeff have their moments to shine. Kaia Gerber as Brittany and Havana Rose Liu as Isabel are outstanding in their respective roles. Ruby Cruz as Hazel has a monumental screen presence in a job done really well. Ayo Edebiri as Josie is on point with her humour and she is just a treat to watch. Rachel Sennott as PJ is exceptional and does manage to tickle your funny bone at various junctures in the narrative.
Although a niche in many ways, Bottoms is a wildly satisfying satire on feminism with a twist that makes for a brilliant watch. If Barbie is your thing, you will definitely enjoy this film, if not then steer clear. Highly Recommended from my end!