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Marshawn Lynch Gets Rave Reviews in His Movie Debut in 'Bottoms'

Former Cal and NFL running back is hilarious in a video scene from the film and he's touching in an interview on why he accepted the part in the comedy
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Headline in SF Gate culture section:

Oakland legend Marshawn Lynch Shines in ‘Bottoms,’ the funniest comedy of the summer

Headline in San Francisco Chronicle Datebook section:

Bare-knuckle boxing, belly laughs put ‘Bottoms’ on top. Marshawn Lynch is a hoot as a teacher in surprisingly touching comedy.

In the movie Bottoms, former Cal and NFL star Marshawn Lynch seems to be playing an extreme version of Marshawn Lynch as an unconventional history teacher. Guess what, Marshawn Lynch plays an extreme version Marshawn Lynch pretty darn well in his movie debut.

Check out this hilarious scene of Lynch chastising two of the girls in the club he is sponsoring (warning, obscenities are prevalent):

How did Lynch get involved? GQ Sports asked director Emma Seligman to get the answer:

How did you get Marshawn to do this? Was he suggested to you?

I can’t take credit for the idea. That was the head of our studio, Alana Mayo. She’s incredible, and she forwarded us all an article in Deadline or something about how his episode of Murderville was better than the others and he outdid all the comedians. Then I found out that show is all improvised and watched it, and I couldn’t stop laughing! I just thought, all we need is someone to do their thing and be a version of themself.

So we offered it to him, and then we had a phone call. He was like, “Do you have me confused with someone else? Like an actor?” I told him, “No, we want you.” I don’t think he even needed to ask me, but he might have asked me, “Do you know who I am? Did you know who I was before this?” I told him, “No, I don’t follow sports, I can’t admit to that. But you’re so unique and hilarious and it would be so fucking cool to have you in this movie and bring an audience that otherwise wouldn’t see it! I just think you’d be really funny in it and play off these girls really well!”

He still thought I was crazy—or not that he thought I was crazy, he just didn’t understand why I would offer it to him. So, it took a few conversations for him to feel comfortable. In our first conversation, he told me that his sister is queer and when they were in high school, he didn’t necessarily handle it super well. He felt like this movie coming into his hands was the universe giving him a chance to right his wrongs. That’s what he said. He walked her down the aisle. He felt like they were all good, you know? But his sister thought it’d be really cool if he did this. We had a couple more conversations about it, and eventually he said yes!

The Lynch interview below talks about his initial reaction to his sister’s revelation and how he did not handle it the right way.

The members of the cast mentioned in the video below how funny Lynch was to work with and how reluctant he was to use a tear stick to make himself cry:

The biggest question is this: How much of what Lynch said in the movie was scripted and how much was ad libbed? He speaks so naturally, you have to wonder.

So how did Lynch do? By most accounts he nailed it.

Excerpt from the New York Times review of the movie:

A lot does click here, including several delicious supporting performances, most notably the former N.F.L. running back Marshawn Lynch as the fight club’s loopy faculty adviser . . .

Two excerpts from the San Francisco Chronicle review of the movie:

Then there’s Oakland native and ex-NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, who is a hoot as the history teacher who signs on as the faculty sponsor of the club.


But let’s pause for a moment to give props to Lynch, the former Oakland Raider, who is hilarious as Mr. G., the teacher and club sponsor who — at times inappropriately — roots the girls on in their mission. After offering an opinion on female self-pleasure, Josie reminds him, “I don’t know if you’re supposed to be talking to us like that, like, as a teacher.”

Variety review excerpt:

The scenes with the students and their teacher, Mr. G., who is caught between his empathy and his rage against feminism, are stunningly funny; the former NFL star Marshawn Lynch plays him with a voluble conviction that keeps on giving.

New York Post review excerpt:

Most enjoyable in “Bottoms” aren’t the high schoolers, though, but the foolish adults around them. Their unwilling club adviser, Mr. G (Marshawn Lynch), overshares about his divorce and feelings toward women.

Rolling Stone review excerpt:

Jokes about school bombings butt up against set pieces revolving around Marshawn Lynch’s perpetually confused history teacher — yes, that Marshawn Lynch; the NFL player formerly known as Beast Mode has great comic chops — and Porky’s-level horndogging.

San Jose Mercury News review excerpt

The leads are exceptional as is Oakland native and former football player Marshawn Lynch, a kick as an often-inappropriate teacher overseeing the club.

Associated Press review excerpt:

Enter their divorcing social studies teacher Mr. G (Marshawn Lynch), who’s in the midst of derisively giving a lesson on feminism. Yes, one of the few adults in “Bottoms” is the former NFL all-star running back known as “Beast Mode” — and he’s hysterical.

The Atlantic review excerpt:

Bottoms is, somehow, part sex comedy, part high-school satire, part slasher, part unexpected Marshawn Lynch comedic vehicle. (Though he’s in a handful too many scenes, the former NFL player generally delights as Mr. G, the clueless adviser to the girls’ fight club.)

Chicago Tribune review excerpt

. . . (Marshawn Lynch, very funny)

Hollywood Reporter review excerpt:

. . . faculty advisor Mr. G (a scene stealing Marshawn Lynch) . . .

BLEX media review excerpt:

Lynch’s transition from the football field to the big screen is a testament to his versatility as an entertainer. His portrayal of the “king of female solidarity” in “Bottoms” has already generated significant buzz and anticipation for the film’s release.

The Rendy Reviews excerpt:

Marshawn Lynch, who probably has a few MVP honors under his football career, takes the MVP crown as the girls’ teacher/fight club supervisor, Mr. G. He's outright hysterical. I didn't know the man had a comical side to him, and he let it shine, oozing charisma and sharp timing in all his jokes. Put him in more movies; he's a star.

NPR review excerpt:

. . . (Marshawn Lynch, utterly delightful). . .

And finally here is an NPR transcript excerpt of a discussion among Pulp Culture Happy Hour host Aisha Harris, NPR music editor Hazel Cills, podcaster Christina Tucker and Slate producer Daisy Rosario.

HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. I also - I want to point out that, yes, this is a movie mostly about girls and whatever, but Marshawn Lynch is kind of a treasure.

CILLS: Oh, my God. Yes.


CILLS: I know.

HARRIS: The football-star-to-actor pipeline is fraught, but I think he's just so fun to watch. And he is the ally in this film.

ROSARIO: Oh, my God.

HARRIS: But he also is just like - he has his own little narrative arc. And I just love how kind of kind of dense he is throughout this entire process.

Well, it’s not all good news. The Los Angeles Times, in its review of Bottoms, never mentioned Marshawn Lynch’s name, a rather odd oversight considering his name recognition and the fact that it’s surprising to see him playing a prominent role in a mainstream film.

Here is the trailer (obscenities included) of the film, which is currently in theaters:

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