two injured girls stand in a high school gym
Credit: Patti Perret/Orion Pictures

Longtime best friends PJ (Rachel Sennott, also a cowriter) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are high school seniors at the absolute bottom of the food chain. They’re bullied—as they say—not for being queer but for being queer, ugly, and untalented. But their reputations begin to change when they accidentally injure Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine), the star quarterback and high school royalty. Suddenly, false rumors begin to fly about their violent pasts and killer fighting skills, and PJ and Josie use their newfound status to start a female fight club at school. They bill it as a self-defense club meant to increase female solidarity, but it’s actually just a plot to get closer to their hot-girl crushes and maybe, potentially, lose their virginities before college.

Director and cowriter Emma Seligman’s lesbian sex comedy is an absurdly gory instant classic, packing the nostalgia of an 80s or 90s flick and the sharp wittiness of a present-day box-office hit. Bottoms leans into the tropes of high school movies past and all for the better: football rules the world, class lectures and schoolwork are practically nonexistent, and many of the actors are closer to age 30 than their awkward teenage years. Brilliant writing pairs perfectly with the impressive improv chops of the cast; Edebiri can make anything funny, and her comedic chemistry with Sennott sets the bar high for supporting characters, but everyone delivers. Standouts include Marshawn Lynch as problematic but likable club adviser Mr. G, as well as Galitzine, who plays the American douchebag flawlessly, rendering his other recent leading role in Red, White & Royal Blue completely forgettable. Football player Tim (Miles Fowler) has unfortunate Disney Channel movie villain vibes as he schemes to expose the fight club’s origins and PJ and Josie’s lies, but it’s all in service to get us to the climax: the long-awaited Huntington High football game. Saying “chaos ensues” is an understatement from there. Just gather your nonsqueamish WLW friends and go see Bottoms immediately. R, 92 min.

Wide release in theaters