Turn Me On, Dammit! | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Turn Me On, Dammit!

A Norwegian charmer that features a dorky, sex-obsessed teen-age girl

Alma (left) and pals deliver a message to their small town.
Alma (left) and pals deliver a message to their small town.

Fifteen-year-old Alma (Helene Bergsholm), the protagonist of the low-key comedy Turn Me On, Dammit!, hates living in her tiny rural Norwegian town. (She and her friends ritually flip off the town's road sign.) But her real obsession is sex, about which she fantasizes constantly.

Alma has a crush on a cute classmate, but a fumbled encounter at a party results in her being labeled "Dick-Alma" and ostracized at school. She's equally miserable at home, where her single mother is embarrassed and confused by Alma's sexual desires, as well as irate about the huge phone bill she ran up by calling sex chatlines.

Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's film is the sort of frankly depicted coming-of-age sex comedy that Hollywood would never make. It's not a barrage of vulgar jokes. These teens matter-of-factly drink, smoke hash and are incomprehensibly mean — the way kids really are. Having a dorky female teen suffer the indignities of her messy sexual awakening is rare, and having such a character study be this sweet and wise is rarer still.

Alma may hate her town, but viewers will be entranced with the beautiful countryside, exquisitely captured. (Alma opens the film bitterly citing the town's charms: "empty road," "sheep," "hay bales.") 

The film is a little quirky, but the adolescent turmoil it depicts — from sexual confusion to feeling lost — is honestly portrayed.

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