By Owen Glancy
Asst. Arts & Features Editor
Of all the films released this past summer, the one most noteworthy that seemed to fall by the wayside was "Bottoms," and you can easily see why. On the outside, it looks like a generic high school comedy movie, but in reality, it’s a very funny generic high school comedy movie.
Before I start raining praise on this movie, one major criticism must be addressed first. This movie owes almost its entire identity to previous films in the juvenile comedy genre.
This does “Bottoms” very few favors, especially since its two biggest inspirations are “Superbad” and “Booksmart,” two of the best films in this genre. The similarities got so bad, that it felt like certain plot points were just copy/pasted from the films before it.
All that being said, this movie is very funny.
There is never a scene without at least one good joke, making this undoubtedly the funniest movie this year. Much of this can be attributed to the film’s method of making jokes. The writers put an unfathomable amount of humor into every scene, so if one doesn’t land, another will immediately replace it. While many of these jokes miss, they come at such a rapid pace that the ones that do land, make the bad jokes much more bearable.
The plot, while derivative of other films, is still fun. It’s very simple, but absurd, with two lesbian losers starting a fight club at their high school under the guise of a self-defense class so that they can get with their crushes. This is definitely the most absurd of the raunchy high school comedy films and it fully leans into that, with extremely exaggerated characters and gore effects.
The main duo, while not as memorable as “Superbad’s” central trio, is very compelling. Their chemistry is great, and any scene where they’re just exchanging quips back and forth is guaranteed to get laughs out of anyone watching.
Sadly, their love interests in the film are not nearly as interesting. One of them gets so little screen time that she becomes irrelevant, and the other is too generic. The leads have no chemistry with these characters too, making the romantic scenes fall flat.
The jocks in this movie are funny antagonists, and they are hilarious in every scene they’re in. However, the main jock Jeff, while funny, pales in comparison to Ryan Gosling’s Ken. With the rampant similarities between the two characters, it’s hard not to compare them and Ken wins in every category.
The best character was surprisingly the PE teacher Mr. G, played by Marshawn Lynch. I was not expecting a football player to turn in such a memorable performance, but he does his absolute best. Nearly every single thing that comes out of his mouth is hysterical and he has a surprisingly emotional scene toward the end of the film.
The big advantage this film has over its competitors is its style. While many of the plot points and characters feel derivative, everything here has been cranked up to 11. While “Superbad” is absurd, it still feels like it takes place in the real world, and might happen to someone.
“Bottoms” on the other hand feels like it takes place in a strange alternate reality where high school football teams are the most powerful force in the world, and where school is the most important part of your life.
It genuinely feels like a film made by the main characters, transporting the audience back to a time where high school was king. This unique perspective is very much welcome, and allows the film to be expressive and safe at the same time, making for a very consistent experience compared to its predecessors.
“Bottoms” is a movie that stands on the shoulders of giants and screams for attention. It isn’t as memorable as “Superbad” or as polished as “Booksmart,” but it is still an excellent film. The jokes are hilarious, the style is memorable, and the writing is consistent. While it owes much of its identity to its predecessors, its own quality cannot be denied.
A modern comedy classic