Movie review – Turn Me On, Dammit!
– by Shawn Conner
Turn Me On, Dammit!‘s 15-year-old heroine is a chronic masturbator and phone sex addict. And those are her good points.
Alma, the movie’s heroine, lives with her mom in a house outside of Skoddeheimen, a small town in Norway. When not running up huge phone bills talking to Stig the sex-phone worker at Wild Wet Dreams, Alma hangs out with two sisters. Ingrid is blonde and mean (her most devastating line: “Well, I’ve seen enough boners to know they’d shrink around you.” Ouch!) and is continuously applying pink lip gloss.
Saralou is brunette and nice and writes letters to Texas death-row inmates. The trio get strangers to buy them beer, sit at a bus kiosk painted with flowers and give the finger to the Skoddeheimen town sign whenever they pass by.
But then Alma’s crush on a boy at school takes a turn for the scandalous; alone with Artur during a party in town, Alma is shocked when he briefly pulls out his dick. When she tells her friends, Ingrid point-blank asks him and he denies it. At school in the following days, Alma becomes the subject of bathroom graffiti and is gifted with an unpleasant nickname. Even the two kids she sees every day on her way home, who are always bouncing outside on a trampoline, can’t resist calling out as she walks by: “Dick-Alma, Dick-Alma!”
Turn Me On, Dammit! is the feature film debut for 36-year-old Norwegian documentary filmmaker Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, who both directed and wrote the script (which was named Best Screenplay at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival). Gently and consistently funny about sex, the movie never shies away from its subject.
Alma is an equal-opportunity fantasizer who imagines herself not just basking in the afterglow of love-making with Artur but also groping Ingrid’s breasts and receiving a lewd proposal from the manager of a supermarket (Alma has to take a job to pay for the immense phone bill she’s rung up). In one scene, Alma’s mom accidentally intercepts the “monthly bonus call” from Stig; curious, she listens to his heated, New York-set sex scenario – up to the point where he says, “And I thrust into America!”
In Helene Bergsholm, Jacobsen has found the perfect Alma. The actress isn’t given a lot of dialogue, but her face expresses Alma’s confusion, turmoil and growing rebellion. Bergsholm gives a hesitant, coyly poised performance that keeps us on Alma’s side.
Refreshingly, Turn Me On, Dammit! makes no apologies for its heroine. When asked by her mom why she is doing the things she does, Alma – and the movie – give a simple, defiant reply: “Because I’m horny!”
Trailer – Turn Me On Dammit!
Turn Me On, Dammit! is currently playing at Vancity Theatre in Vancouver. Check here for showtimes.