||The Girl Next Door
1999 - R - 82 Mins.
|Director: Christine Fugate|
|Producer: Adam Berns|
|Written By: Mel Frohman|
|Starring: Stacy Valentine, Jack Gallagher,
Brandon Iron, Julian
|Review by: Greg Ursic
Pornography is big business. While most internet businesses hemorrhaged red ink for years only to succumb to the dot.com bust, the average internet porn site is profitable within six months. The industry as a whole rakes in billions of dollars a year, more than all the Hollywood studios combined.
No longer the domain of the dirty old man in a trench coat, "adult movies" are available at most video outlets, and rented by men, women and couples of every social status. Strangely, these same people are quick to judge the performers assuming they’re pariahs -- ex-hookers, druggies and run-of-the-mill losers. Life is never that simple.
'The Girl Next Door' is a documentary about the life of Stacy Baker, a girl who was adopted at birth and had a normal upbringing: was pretty, amiable and somewhat lacking in self-esteem. She came from a loving home. Not exactly a Rhodes scholar, her goal in life was to get married and be a good wife, because that's what proper girls from Tulsa did.
Her husband's Madonna/whore fascination would soon change all that. After pressuring her to get breast implants and pose for nude photos, he submitted the pictures to a men's magazine. To both their amazement Stacy was chosen as "Girl Next Door" and "Hustler" magazine swept her off to do a shoot with a male model on the Mexican Riviera. Loving the attention and surprised at her disappearing inhibitions, she had an epiphany: the woman who previously felt she had no talents, realized that she did have one undeniable skill - she could "f*** great". A star was born.
Stacy ditched her overbearing husband, and moved to Los Angeles, adopting the stage name Stacy Valentine. She gave herself two years to become the best in the business and quickly becomes the "it" girl of the porn set. A consummate professional, Stacy was there to get the scene, and nothing - not stinging ants or fake smoke that almost caused her to cough up a lung - were going to get in the way. While she notes cavalierly that "When I'm horny, I go to work, and if I want affection I have my cat…" it is soon apparent that the broad smile pasted on her face is part of her carefully manufactured screen persona.
Although there is ample nudity and several sex scenes (carefully filmed to avoid being explicit), it is the unflinching look at Stacy's life that makes you feel like a voyeur. In her world a relationship is threatened not by sex with strangers but rather something as innocuous as holding hands with another person. We watch as Stacy, driven by ambition, sabotages her relationship with Julian, a fellow "actor" and nice guy who sincerely cares about her.
Midway through the film her chirpy optimism is replaced by a sad cynicism echoed by her new tattoo: "trust no one". Stacy comes to realize that engaging in sex on command has stripped her of the one thing her life is lacking - intimacy. Unable to find it she concentrates on her career, ultimately winning the H'ot Dor, the Oscar of the adult film industry. Stacy's changes are not limited to the emotional.
In order to maintain the illusion of living Barbie doll Stacy undergoes numerous plastic surgeries, brought to you in living color. No horror movie can hold a candle to the violence of a silicone implant the size of a throw pillow being yarded through a gaping hole in a women's breast, then replaced with another only marginally smaller implant. If this isn't enough to make you squeamish, they also serve up liposuction and an operation to imbue Stacy with come-hither lips.
Some of the best scenes in the movie are the exchanges between Stacy and her mother, an amazingly nonjudgmental, supportive woman who lavishes her daughter with unconditional love. Her only worry is that when she is gone, Stacy will spend the rest of her life alone. It is obvious that Stacey had not, until that very moment, contemplated this thought, and both women burst into tears. It is a touching moment that avoids being gooey.
The most remarkable thing about Stacy Valentine that there is nothing remarkable about her - she truly could be anyone's neighbor, daughter or sister. If you have the opportunity to see this film, seize it.