Sunday, June 30, 2013

Turn Me On, Dammit (2011)

What originally starts out as the Anti-Hollywood teen sex film ends in a cop out when 15-year-old Alma gives up her self-respect and *MILD SPOILER* gets together with a loser. This development strains credulity, not to mention the message is appalling -- if you can't find a suitable boyfriend, girls, remember ... it's better to be with a d**k than to be alone.

   Alma (Helene Bergsholm) copes with her small-town ennui by engaging in an active fantasy life, where everyone she encounters is a potential mate. Yes, Alma has hormones that would put the cast of "American Pie" to shame, but that's where the "Pie..." similarities end.

   Alma's troubles really start when a boy she likes, Arter (Matias Myren) rubs his d**k against her at a party, then denies it when she excitedly tells her friends. Queen b**ch Ingrid (Beate Støfring,) who wants Arter for herself, turns Alma's classmates against her and almost overnight Alma goes from well-liked student to school outcast.

   From the beginning, "Turn Me On..." establishes itself as something different, from its astonishingly frank depiction of female sexuality to its decidedly non-Hollywood actors. Unlike some others, I thought the casting was effective. Although Alma is not always likable, her youthfulness and naivete make her compelling, and Swedish cutie Helene Bergsholm, it seems, is the girl for the job.

   The downs: the ending. I can not stress this enough -- if you're going to make a movie about female angst and personal growth, do not end the movie this way! The subplot about Ingrid's sister Sara (Malin Bjørhovde)'s pen pal-ship with a death row inmate is sadly underdeveloped.

   "Turn Me On, Dammit" is an interesting, but ultimately slightly disappointing, portrayal of teenage blues and sexual awakening. If you remember anything, it will probably be the ostracism of Alma by the cruel school queen bee and the gentle humor.

   "Turn Me On, Dammit" is innovative in that it deals with female sexuality, but ultimately, its flaws make it difficult to recommend. It's most suited for a certain female audience, maybe, an audience that sympathizes with Alma's troubles. Others might find little to relate to or even like. "Turn Me On..." is an interesting debut, but not much more.



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