I love that for the past month, the hot cinematic topic in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has not been a superhero movie, a 3-D blockbuster or even a major-studio release, but a teenage sex comedy from Norway that hardly anybody in the heartland has even heard of. Thank whoever decided to yank a screening of Turn Me On, Dammit! from the Bama Theatre after complaints from local clergy, then restore it after equally intense public outcry.
But it's easy to see why pastors got hot under their collars, and other folks too. If all you're used to seeing are the smirky evasions of major-studio movies — yeah, that includes you, Magic Mike, penis pump and all — the short, bittersweet Turn Me On, Dammit! is a shockingly forthright blast of thwarted hormones, right from the opening sequence of 18-year-old lead Helene Bergsholm frantically trying to get off to a phone-sex worker's chipper spiel.
In fact, you can pretty much count the reasons Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's first fiction feature would never get made as-is in America: Teenage girls do all the talking about sex, and their concerns are foremost; they're not punished for their curiosity or manipulated by plotting into some melodramatic crisis; they don't all look like supermodels in training. (Sorry, pervs — nudity is in short, if strategic, supply.) But longtime documentarian Jacobsen evokes the desperate longing and confusion of adolescent sexuality so vividly — and so amusingly — guys are just as likely to sympathize.