Christine Fugate

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The Girl Next Door (1999) Review


Excellent

What does it take to be a porn star? And what does being a porn star do to the psyche? The Girl Next Door shows you more than you may ever want to know about the, ahem, glamorous business of the skin trade, and my is it an ugly sight.

The subject of this humble documentary is Stacy Valentine (nee Stacy Baker), an Oklahoma housewife driven to amateur, soft-core photos by her clearly white-trash husband. As many men soon discover, be careful what you wish for: Stacy loves it so much she flies to Mexico for a Hustler photo shoot. Then it's on to Hollywood for a career in adult films.

Starring in such films as Cafe Flesh #2, New Wave Hookers #5, and My Horny Valentine just can't be good for a person, and my how that turns out to be true. Stacy gets round after round of cosmetic surgery, explicitly shown to gruesome effect. Stacy goes to a hypnotherapist to help her feel better about herself. Stacy goes in and out of a relationship with a costar. Stacy screws a rich Frenchman for the money, then rolls around in hundred dollar bills. All in the pursuit of what appears to be her main goal in life: Recognition as a great porn actress.

We see Stacy's heartbreak when she doesn't win Performer of the Year at the cheesy Adult Video News Awards. We see her triumph when she wins Best American New Starlet in Cannes. She even calls mom to tell her the great news.

Filmmaker Christine Fugate's portrait of Stacy, shot over 2 years, is like watching a multi-car wreck that gets longer and longer. She's obviously headed downhill in an eternal spiral, and despite her promise to go into a new career as a makeup artist, it's painfully obvious that it's never going to happen.

The Girl Next Door is a rare cautionary tale that every aspiring actress (adult or no) should see.



Probably the only time we'll legitimately be able to put a picture like this up on our site.

The Girl Next Door Review


Weak

A shot-on-video, do-it-yourself quality documentary that belongs on late-night HBO rather than in theaters, "The Girl Next Door" skirts the edges of porn star Stacy Valentine's mock-happy life, trying so hard to not pass judgment on her choice of careers that it ends up having little, if anything, to say about its subject.

Christine Fugate, the unblinking eye behind PBS' 1998 cigarette industry exposé "Tobacco Blues," directs this all-access chronicle that follows this former Oklahoma housewife -- whose adult film career began with homemade pictures for Hustler at the behest of her abusive ex-husband -- through several months of on-set sex, porn industry awards, stomach-turning cosmetic surgeries, equally unappealing convention meet-and-greets with pasty, sweaty-palmed fans, monthly AIDS tests and a doomed romance with a shallow co-star.

Fugate's interviews with her subject are interesting in a car-crash kind of way, but they're ultimately unsatisfying because Valentine hasn't anything unpredictable to offer on the subjects of her career choices, her family (she's adopted, we meet mom and stepdad), her love life or her regrets. One gets the impression that this particular starlet was chosen for the film simply because she's the closest thing the industry has to a clean-cut, everyday girl.

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Christine Fugate Movies

The Girl Next Door (1999) Movie Review

The Girl Next Door (1999) Movie Review

What does it take to be a porn star? And what does being a porn...

The Girl Next Door Movie Review

The Girl Next Door Movie Review

A shot-on-video, do-it-yourself quality documentary that belongs on late-night HBO rather than in theaters, "The...

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