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The concept of the adolescent sex comedy is not something movie goers haven't seen before, but the Norwegian film Turn Me On, Dammit! does offer a new perspective on a popular, yet critically maligned sub-genre. The film features everything one might expect from a sex comedy. Awkward moments, a few shocks, and several scenes of tenderness, however the thing that sets this film apart from the American Pies, is that the horny teenager in this film is a female.
The film focuses on Alma, a 15-year-old girl who lives in the small town of Skoddeheimen, and is in a constant state of fantasy, daydreaming about sleeping with nearly every man she lays eyes on. To suppress her urges, she becomes slightly addicted to calling phone sex lines, although she realizes they are a poor substitute for real human affection. She lives with her mother, who doesn't exactly know how to cope with her daughter's budding sexuality, and has difficulty approaching the subject. Alma is also in love with her neighbor Arthur, but after an incident at a party involving him, she misses her shot and becomes the school's pariah.
Adapted from a novel by Olaug Nilssen, and written and directed by Jannicke Systad, the most interesting part of Turn Me On, Dammit! is the simple fact that there's a female lead. Too often in American cinema we only see boys as dorky, sex-obsessed virgins. In our sexually repressed society, it's easy to forget that girls get horny too, and that's exactly what this film explores.
While there were certainly some embarrassing and uncomfortable moments in the film, it would be unfair to compare it to the sex comedies of America, because rather than focusing on the outlandish, this film takes a much more grounded approach. The comedy is less gross-out sight gags, and more dialogue-driven and situational.
The bleak backdrop of the one-horse town the characters live in is just enough to give the film that Euro-indie feel that we are all becoming accustomed to. Those viewers that grew up in small towns will also appreciate the stagnant feeling the characters all seem to share regarding the town.
While the majority of the film was charming, there weren't too many laugh out loud moments. Although some of the jokes may have been lost in translation, overall it was not a very funny movie. That's not to say it wasn't entertaining, just don't expect a laugh riot.
The film's climax also left something to be desired. The majority of the film moved at a relatively slow pace, then when Alma hit her lowest point, she inexplicably does a 180 and everything is sunshine and rainbows once again. One could argue this sentiment, but I would have liked to have seen a stronger resolution between Alma and her mother, and be given more inner dialogue from her explaining why she was feeling better about life.
Although Norway seems to be cranking out high quality movies left and right these days, most of them are gritty crime stories, so it's refreshing to see a more light-hearted film come our way. Turn Me On, Dammit! is a charming, yet slightly flawed coming of age story that will entertain some, and outrage others (Republicans, I'm looking at you.) Adam FilmPulse.net
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