If you love absurdist humor with a touch of Gen Z malevolence, Emma Seligman’s queer satire Bottoms is the film for you. Bottoms gleefully flips the trope of two guys devising a ridiculous plot to score girls trope on its head with lesbian best friends, PJ (Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott) and Josie (The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri), who form a self-defense-turned-fight-club to hook up with a pair of cheerleaders. Bottoms features an amazing supporting cast, including Marshawn Lynch, Havana Rose Liu, and Nicholas Galitzine (Red, White, and Royal Blue).
Set against the backdrop of the early aughts (aka early 2000s), Bottoms is not your average after-school special. Punches and slurs are thrown. Jocks lipsync Bonnie Tyler. Rival football teams have murder reps. But the film’s heart is the on-and-off screen friendship between Sennott and Edebiri, which began when they were students at NYU.
Where they’ve been
Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri met while they were students at NYU alongside director Emma Seligman, who collaborated with Sennott on the short film Shiva Baby, which led to the award-winning indie feature in 2020. That same year, Sennott and Edebiri made a web series titled “Ayo and Rachel Are Single.” While Seligman and Sennott were working on Shiva Baby, they began to write the screenplay for Bottoms, already picturing Edebiri for the role of Josie.
In an interview with LA Times, Seligman talks about how Bottoms was influenced by older teen movies that were lacking certain characters: “Looking back, I would’ve loved to have seen more queer female characters. But I also would’ve loved to have seen girls beating each other up and fighting to save the day. And I love movies like ‘Scott Pilgrim’ and ‘Kick-Ass’ and ‘Attack the Block’ — movies where a bunch of boys are getting together to be rambunctious and fight and do stuff. And so this was a culmination of a lot of different kinds of movies, with young teen female characters I wish I could have seen.”
Where they’re going
2023 was an exciting year for Ayo Edebiri. She was nominated for an Emmy for Lead Actress for her role as sous-chef Sydney in The Bear and did voicework on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. She plays Janine’s sister on the mockumentary sitcom Abbott Elementary and also shined in the comedy film Theater Camp, directed by fellow NYU grad Molly Gordon (Shiva Baby, The Bear). Edebiri will join the Big Mouth cast in Season 8, taking over the voice of Missy.
In the meantime, Rachel Sennott has taken her comedy chops to the big leagues, starring in the controversial HBO series The Idol and A24’s comedy horror film Bodies Bodies Bodies. Sennott, alongside Nicole Kidman and Matthew Macfadyen, will also appear in the upcoming film Holland, Michigan.
In development: Emma Seligman has teamed up with Succession’s Adam McKay to make her feature Shiva Baby into a half-hour comedy series following a young Jewish woman in New York who works as a sugar baby. In addition to creating, Seligman will write and direct most of the episodes.
There is something kismet about three college friends making their big Hollywood debuts around the same time. Seligman, Edebiri, and Sennott prove that Gen Z is a creative force not to be trifled with. This fabulous trio shows us that feminine rage can be turned into rambunctious, sexy fun—but only if women are at the helm of their own stories. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for these talented artists.