“Bottoms” is loads of issues: a raunchy, bloody comedy; a lesbian love story; and a showcase of Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri’s comedic skills, to call a couple of. But it surely’s additionally filled with refined particulars and references, and one which’s straightforward to overlook is that the film is (in all probability) set within the early 2000s.
One of many largest particulars that roots the film in time is the characters’ use of flip telephones and moveable CD gamers. Communication additionally appears pretty analogue, and there isn’t any social media to talk of (although one can solely think about how unhinged Sennott’s character PJ’s social media presence can be). The aesthetics of the movie additionally really feel borrowed from traditional early 2000s highschool comedies like “Mean Girls,” full with quirky academics, cheerleaders, traditional bullies, and razor-sharp jokes about social hierarchies.
But, in some ways, “Bottoms” can be divorced from time — present in a surreal universe of its personal. A lot of its aesthetics additionally really feel closely impressed by the ’80s, ’90s, and the current day. There are clear parallels to ’80s motion pictures like “Heathers,” which put its personal bloody and weird spin on a traditional highschool story, and “The Breakfast Club,” which additionally explored identification, insecurity, and cross-clique romances.
“Bottoms” additionally feels rooted within the current in sure methods, together with the style selections that really feel extra drawn from TikTok tendencies than the kinds of a long time previous. Hazel’s (Ruby Cruz) clothes selections and haircut, particularly, appear to be they might be plucked proper off your For You web page. After which there’s the truth that being queer appears universally accepted within the “Bottoms” universe, which it undoubtedly nonetheless is not in many faculties across the nation, and which it hardly ever was (besides maybe in essentially the most progressive faculties) earlier than the 2010s.
Some features of “Bottoms” transcend time, such because the overconfident quarterback who thinks he is the middle of the universe and the native gala’s, gymnasium pep rallies, and homecoming video games that function the backdrops for a lot of the motion. But some aren’t rooted in time in any respect, equivalent to the concept any college or instructor would enable college students to beat the crap out of one another as a part of an after-school membership, or the completely insane massacre on the finish of the film, which strikes absolutely into hallucination-level insanity.
However “Bottoms” was by no means making an attempt to be a mirrored image of a selected time or perhaps a real looking portrait of highschool. It is as a substitute rooted in a type of delusional absurdity that feels extra drawn from the Web’s humorousness than from anything. However right here, it strikes previous even parody, turning into a unique world unto itself. By the point our protagonists are standing screaming on a blood-soaked soccer subject on the finish of the film, it is clear that “Bottoms” truly takes place not in a single specific decade, however moderately in an alternate universe that manages to focus on among the extra absurd features of our personal.