A slick but affable teen comedy centered on a 16-year-old Norwegian girl desperate to shed her virginity, "Just Bea" reps an odd swerve for helmer Petter Naess after the breakout, offbeat buddy movie "Elling." Toothsome cast and bouncy, popvid-style direction augurs well for pic's domestic release, although mature subject matter will exclude tweenie auds in many territories. Despite universally accessible plot, subtitles will make it a hard sell to reading-averse youth market abroad.

A slick but affable teen comedy centered on a 16-year-old Norwegian girl desperate to shed her virginity, “Just Bea” reps an odd swerve for helmer Petter Naess after the breakout, offbeat buddy movie “Elling.” Toothsome cast and bouncy, popvid-style direction augurs well for pic’s domestic release, although mature subject matter will exclude tweenie auds in many territories. Despite universally accessible plot, subtitles will make it a hard sell to reading-averse youth market abroad.

Spunky, aspiring scribette Bea (Kaia Foss) is distressed to find she’s the last virgin among her high school girlfriends. To the others’ envy and her own surprise, Daniel (Espen Klouman-Hoiner), the cutest boy in school, starts making moves on her. Bea’s pert friend, Mia (comely Kamilla Gronli Hartvig), suggests Bea get ready for sex with Daniel by losing her virginity first to someone inconsequential, like shy older boy Anders (foxy Kim S. Falck-Jorgensen). Although Bea and Anders’ sex date goes wrong in many ways, the dread deed gets done. Heroine predictably spends last act figuring out Anders was better b.f. material in the first place. Tech credits are polished, in a TV-movie way.

Just Bea

Norway

Production

A Maipo Film & TV Produksjon, Filmlance production, in association with Nordisk Filmfond, Nordic Film & TV Fund, Swedish Film Institute. (International sales: Norwegian Film Institute, Oslo.) Produced by Synnove Horsdal. Directed by Petter Naess. Screenplay, Johan Borgaeus.

Crew

Camera (color), Marius Johansen Hansen; editor, Jon Endre Mork; music, Surferosa; production designer, Bettina Schroeteler; costumes, Ellen Daehti Ystenede. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival, Jan. 27, 2004. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- 14Plus Kinderfilmfest.) Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Kaia Foss, Kim S. Falck-Jorgensen, Espen Klouman-Hoiner, Kamilla Gronli Hartvig, Ida Thurman-Moe, Maria Brinch.
(Danish, English dialogue)
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