The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door (1999) movie poster

(1999) dir. Christine Fugate
viewed: 06/23/06

I’d read about this documentary several years back when it first came out and it took a long time to finally end up on DVD. The film explores a couple of years in the life of porn star, Stacy Valentine, a mid-Western young housewife who ditched a domineering husband to pursue a career in the limelight of Southern California’s sex industry.

The film follows some of the mundanities of the industry, not exploitatively critical, but also certainly not aggrandizing. Stacy undergoes some horrific plastic surgery that is also pretty run of the mill: breast enhancements, liposuction, and collagen injections (quite frankly as disgusting and freakish to watch that could actually utterly kill any sex drive at all). But it’s all part of the industry and the job.

The film is interesting because of the subject matter. The camera follows her on film shoots and personal trips back to her mom and high school friends. Stacy is naive and not particularly self-aware but has some characteristics that make her quite “the girl next door,” or someone that you could have known from high school, transformed into a standard porn bimbo, over make-up’ed and with painfully balloonish boobs. It’s an industry increasingly verging on the mainstream of culture, so robust and yet so far removed from the mainstream of America that there is much to explore. This film does that in an earnest and sincere way, but is not necessarily itself incredibly profound.

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