28th Apr2013

‘Turn Me On, Goddammit’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Helene Bergsholm, Malin Bjørhovde, Beate Støfring, Matias Myren, Henriette Streenstrup | Based on the novel by Olaug Nilssen | Written and Directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen

I’ve had something of a soft spot for coming-of-age stories ever since I read JD Salinger’s perennial classic The Catcher In The Rye. Whether it’s the tough but good-hearted lessons of Stand By Me and Almost Famous or bleak but profound entries into adult like The 400 Blows and Kes, they usually contain a great deal that I can relate to on an emotional and thematic level, even if I never grew up in Paris, toured with a rock band or found a dead body in my youth. I did get drunk in a park once, but that’s about it. Realistically I think I still enjoy these stories because, despite having been legally adult for quite some time, I still haven’t quite come of age yet and can still find something to relate to.

In Turn Me On, Goddammit, that thing happens to be the sexual fantasies of a 15-year old Norwegian girl. Okay, I think I might have lost some of you there. But stick with me.

The aforementioned teen, Alma, is going through a rough patch. She lives in the arse end of nowhere with her mother and calls a telephone sex hotline on a regular basis because she doesn’t know how to solve the problem of the boy she likes being liked by her best friend’s sister. Alma tends to hide these problems so deep that they eventually resurface as sexual fantasies involving whoever’s around at the time (bar family members, you weirdo). Things are made infinitely worse when the boy she likes – Artur – pokes Alma’s thigh with his penis at a party. We’ve all been there, right, fellas? When she tells understandably tells her friends about this likely therapy-inducing incident he denies it, making her the laughing stock of Skoddeheimen with the highly subversive nickname “Dick-Alma”.

The story plays out more or less the way you’d expect, with Alma learning how to deal with her problems, finding out that growing up and moving away’s not as easy as she thought it would be and gaining some self-respect along the way. It’s pretty funny, too, Alma’s erotic daydreams offering a frank depiction of raw, unsubtle teenage desires (a particular favourite of mine is when our heroine pictures her grocery store boss performing an amateur striptease in the magazine aisle of the store only to be interrupted by her crush and his kid sister).

Turn Me On, Goddammit doesn’t have a lot more to say than that but at 74 minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome. What connected with me was Alma’s sense of unrequited longing and over-the-top sexual frustrations which ostracise her from not only her friends but the local community at large, a feeling which I think most folks who’ve been through puberty (or, in my case, may well still be going through it) can relate to on some level. Also, it’s refreshing to see what is essentially a teen sex comedy forego the presumed logical conclusion for this kind of movie and not actually end in a sex scene at all – Alma’s mother’s certain to make sure of that.

Turn Me On, Goddammit is out on DVD now from Element Pictures.

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Hilarious Teen Sex Fantasy | Mark Allen Writes Things says:

    […] You can read it here. If that kind of thing turns you on. My first collaborative comics-review post with Jack Kirby should be up today or tomorrow, which I’m kind of excited about, if only because my writing will likely be elevated by Jack’s infectious enthusiasm and economic wit. […]