PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) aren’t the most popular girls in Rockbridge Falls, but that’s not entirely because they are openly gay. It’s because, in their words, they are gay, untalented, and ugly. This perpetual feeling of loneliness, as well as a very unfortunate car incident between them and star quarterback Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine), leads them to concoct a huge lie: they have started a “self-defense” fight club at their school for fellow female students based on their totally legit experiences in juvie. Despite the fact that they can’t really pass as teenagers at all, Sennott and Edebiri, the latter in particular, certainly act like they do. Their performances encompass all the different emotions of dealing with queerness in your youth, from selfish desire to insecure puppy love.
Even if they are at the center of the film, “Bottoms” is as effective as it is because of its larger ensemble cast. Every actor is fully committed to the film’s overarching joke, whether they are playing a self-righteous meathead or a secretly-nuanced cheerleader. While some performances just barely teeter the edge between purposefully absurd and annoying, every character is just charming enough to barely make this feel like an issue. Particular standouts include the aforementioned Galitzine, “Willow” actress Ruby Cruz as the club’s unofficial secretary Hazel, and especially Marshawn Lynch as the easily-persuasive teacher Mr. G.