Tag Archives: Ayo Edebiri

The Break Bones Club


by Hope Madden

Bottoms essentially follows a traditional teen comedy path, from the first day of senior year (with the high expectations of finally turning your popularity and romantic luck around) through that fraught homecoming football game. Our underdogs hatch a scheme to win the affections of the hot cheerleaders.

But if you saw co-writer/director Emma Seligman and co-writer/star Rachel Sennott’s uncomfortably brilliant 2020 comedy Shiva Baby, you have some idea of what you’re in for. Expect a chaotic, boundary pushing satire unafraid to offend.

PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri, so funny earlier this summer in Theater Camp) are their high school’s ugly, untalented gays. PJ is always scheming to get some cooch, and this will be their year. Her idea? Start a fight club for the girls in the school. Or, you know, a self-defense club. Where you wrestle around and hit and get excited and sweaty and close.

Josie is not down with this, but PJ usually gets her way and the next thing you know –well, you saw Fight Club, right? Because those men were only convincing themselves they were being pushed around, bullied and disempowered.

Part John Hughes, part Jennifer Reeder, part Chuck Palahniuk, Bottoms exists in a bizarre world of deadpan absurdism so littered with smart, biting commentary that you’ll need to see it twice to catch all of it.

Sennott and Edebiri are as fun a set of besties as Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart. Maybe even as fun as Beanie Feldstein and Saiorse Ronan in Lady Bird. Nicholas Galitzine is a riot as the quarterback, Jeff, and Ruby Cruz delivers as the one earnest lesbian hoping to empower and create solidarity with this club.

Seligman’s tone, her image of high school and high school movies, is wildly, irreverently funny and fearless. It’s hilarious, raunchy, and so much fun.

Greasepaint Is the Word

Theater Camp

by Hope Madden

There are certain comedies that feel lovingly, mockingly plucked from experience. The School of Rock. Wet Hot American Summer. Theater Camp.

The premise of the latter is relatively familiar: a summerlong theater camp will be foreclosed on or snapped up by a spendier competitor unless somehow, some way, a little inspiration and a little fairy dust help the lights and the show go on.

At the center of the crisis: Amos (Ben Platt) and Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon, who also co-writes and co-directs). Amos instructs in drama, Rebecca-Diane reads auras, conducts seances, and teaches musical theory. The pair has been inseparable since childhood – a conceit made all the more believable with the actual archival footage of wee Gordon and Platt, both 4-years-old, dancing together onstage.

Touches like this help to develop the feeling that this is a lived-in love, a mash note to the awkward, petty, ridiculous, glorious, accepting, embracing, creative community that forms artists.

Both Platt and Gordon deliver touching, flawed, funny performances. The balance of the ensemble shines as well.

Jimmy Tatro nails the earnest dumbass bro pegged to run the camp while his mother (Amy Sedaris – genius as always) is in a coma. Co-writer Noah Galvin offers a sneaky comic presence from his opening moments and eventually steals the show (and the show within the show).

I would have loved to see the Janet (Ayo Edebiri) side story developed. Edebiri’s every moment of screentime is an understated riot. Likewise Sedaris, with little more than a cameo, was missed when she was off screen. But the large cast, most with limited screen time, manages to craft memorably eccentric characters who come together to create a community.

This is the film’s real magic, something the cast and filmmakers – including Gordon’s co-writer and co-director, Nick Lieberman – convey with mockery borne of familiarity and love.

Theater kids are bound to see themselves here, and the loose structure and inside jokes may weaken the experience for everyone else. But underneath the affectionate mockery lurks a moving testament to the nurturing effect of belonging.