Review | "Turn Me On, Dammit!"
We've seen countless films about horny teenage boys trying to get laid. It seems like a new one opens at the multiplex every weekend. And every time it is treated as something to be celebrated. However, any girl who acted the way those boys do would most likely be labeled a "loose woman."
That double standard has long existed inside Hollywood and out. In fact it wasn't that long ago that the female orgasm itself was thought to be a myth. Women's sexual enjoyment has always been more of a taboo than their male counterparts, and the fact that women like sex just as much as men, and are just as prone to sexual fantasies, is often ignored in movies. Now, Jannicke Systad Jacobsen Norwegian coming of age comedy, Turn Me On, Dammit! seeks to change all that.
|Sara (Malin Bjørhovde), Alma (Helene Bergsholm) and Ingrid (Beate Støfring) in a scene from “Turn Me On, Dammit!,” a film by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen. Photo courtesy of New Yorker Films.|
Soon, Alma finds herself an outcast in her own town. And in a town as small as Skoddenheimen, everyone soon finds out about Alma's "abnormality." The kids at school start calling her "Dick Alma," Artur begins ignoring her existence, even her own mother thinks there's something wrong with her. All the while her sexual curiosity only grows, so does her frustration, with no one to tell her that what she is feeling is perfectly normal.
|Alma (Helene Bergsholm) prepares for a party in “Turn Me On, Dammit!,” a film by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen. Photo courtesy of New Yorker Films.|
The young cast of mostly non-professional actors are refreshingly real, untouched by the typical looks and attitudes of the stereotypical Hollywood teenager. They fully commit themselves to tricky and potentially awkward territory with great aplomb, and the result is something wholly unique. Turn Me On, Dammit! is a comedy about real teenagers, not manufactured Calvin Klein models with fairy tale endings. It's a brash, insightful, and poignant film with a daring new perspective. As this strange national debate about birth control as a sign of promiscuity rages on in America, Turn Me On, Dammit! has the chutzpah to present a young girl with an unabashed desire for sexual gratification without judging her, even treating her as perfectly normal - because that is exactly what she is. No matter what America's strange tradition of prudishness would have us believe, sex is nothing to be ashamed of, and Jacobson's altogether wonderful new film is a warm, witty, and hilarious celebration of healthy sexual desire in all its forms. It's one of the best coming of age comedies in years.
GRADE - ★★★ (out of four)
TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! | Directed by Jannike Systad Jacobsen | Stars Helene Bergholm, Malin Bjørhovde, Beate Støfring, Henriette Steenstrup, Matias Myren | Not rated | In Norwegian w/English subtitles | Now playing in select cities.