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Turn Me On, Dammit! - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Turn Me On, Dammit!
Directing: B
Acting: B-
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+

Turn Me On, Dammit!, a Danish comedy about sexually frustrated contepmorary teenagers, has one notable thing in common with Hysteria, a period piece about the 19th-century British inventor of the electric vibrator. The both zero in on women who are unapologetic about the pursuit of female sexual pleasure. This Danish one, though -- it's more frank about it than just about any American movie out there.

It's pretty safe to say that this movie would never get made in the United States. And it's not so much because studios wouldn't allow it; it's because it would come across as so unrealistic for any American 15-year-old to behave the way Alma (Helene Bergsholm) does. When Alma's mother discovers a shockingly high phone bill, Alma freely admits to calling a phone sex line. How many girls actually call for phone sex, anyway? Alma's mom asks why; Alma says, simply, "I'm horny." What 15-year-old girl do you know who would say such a thing to her mother?

Alma's mother, in fact, isn't judgmental of Alma's sexuality as she is simply embarrassed by it. She put in ear plugs so she doesn't have to hear her masturbatory moaning through the walls. There are several scenes in which Alma masturbates. In one, she's actually sitting on a roll of coins while working the checkout line at a local grocery store.

On the one hand, writer-director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen is showing us something here that is unusual indeed, at least in film. On the other hand, there's something refreshing about the frankness here -- something usually reserved for the depiction of adolescent boys hardly in control of their hormones. Most movies completely disregard the fact that girls go through the same sort of confusion and frustration. Fundamentally, Alma just wants to get off. It makes her fantasize about nearly every man she comes across. And there aren't a lot of men to choose from in his town she lives in, so god-forsaken that she and her friends are compelled to flip off the city sign every time the ride in on the bus.

But things get worse for Alma after her crush, Artur (Matias Myren), approaches her outside the building at a party. Out of nowhere, he pulls his cock out of his pants. And pokes her in the thigh with it. What the hell? Alma's reaction to this is understandable. Well, first she masturbates in the bathroom. But then she rushes to tell her friends that Artur poked her with his dick.

But none of them believe her. Artur, predictably, denies it. Word spreads like wildfire, and before she knows it, everyone is calling Alma "Dick-Alma," including the neighbor's little boys. Everyone at school stops talking to her. It becomes a big thing. If nothing else, it proves that high school idiocy knows no geographic or linguistic boundary.

The frank realism regarding blossoming sexuality is to be commended, but I was hoping for something funnier. Turn Me On, Dammit! is billed as a teen sex comedy, and while I was by turns engaged and entertained, I laughed out loud maybe once. There's also a kind of odd passivity to the performances. The characters are believable, but only just; there aren't exactly any Oscar showcase scenes here. This is a surprisingly quiet, understated movie.

But, on the whole, it's satisfying. There's an extended, bizarre tension between Alma and Artur, as Alma, unaccountably but for the fact of teenage naivete, pines for him even after his weird move and subsequent denial of it. But this relationship reaches a perfectly sensible resolution, and thus does the movie as well. In a way it offers hope to sexually frustrated teenagers -- even if the journey getting there, for Alma, is a bit alien to American audiences.

Helene Bergsholm is a bit sexually frustrated in TURN ME ON, DAMMIT!

Overall: B
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