Josie and PJ

How do you follow Shiva Baby, a breakthrough comedy of exquisite embarrassment? Bottoms is the answer. Put another way – you don’t follow Shiva Baby, you head off in a different direction. So Emma Seligman, who wrote and directed Shiva Baby, has made a high-school comedy this time around, with Rachel Sennott now as a co-writer and again as her star and Ayo Edebiri drafted in, who you might know from the TV show The Bear. All three were friends together in their New York University days. Sennott and Edebiri play PJ and Josie, a pair of lesbian best friends who also happen to be very unpopular at school. Not because they’re gay … Read more

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Myha'la Herrold, Rachel Sennott

The thing about those murder mysteries full of celebrity names, where Faye Dunaway or Lauren Bacall swan about among fellow stars until they either wind up dead or are revealed as the killer, is that everyone on the train or in the country house deserves what’s coming to them. There’s an uber-entitlement payback thing going on. Bodies Bodies Bodies understands that dynamic and mints it anew, with a privilege-unchecked gang of nicely rich bright young things, who convene at the big old house owned by the absent dad of one of their number, take drugs, drink, cavort and finally decide to play a game. What I’d call Murder in the Dark they call … Read more

Shiva Baby

Danielle at the buffet

Shiva Baby is a failure-to-launch comedy of aspirational anxiety and adds writer/director Emma Seligman’s name to the list of 1980s-born New York(ish) women working the seam – Lena Dunham, Greta Gerwig and Desiree Akhavan. Seligman adds her own distinctive twist, though, a genre switcheroo as screwball comedy morphs into something darker and tenser, an almost Hitchcock-y vibe emerging as main focus Danielle (Rachel Sennott) works herself into terrible situations entirely of her own making. What’s more impressive is that the action takes place all on one set, inside the house where a shiva (the Jewish wake/mourning period) is taking place after the death of someone – the obligated Danielle isn’t actually sure who – … Read more