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The Girl Next Door

Come and listen to the tale of a girl named Stacy
An Oklahoma girl posed for a picture racy
Entered a contest called The Girl Next Door
Then Gallery magazine made the girl a whore…
Out of your league…

The next thing you know Stacy's having sex for cash
Threw out her husband like so much trailer trash
Said "California ought to suit me fine,"
Got breast implants to be Stacy Valentine…
Sex in pools…
With movie stars…

Of course, if the girl next door really looked like Stacy Valentine, a lot more people would have an excuse to keep living in their parents' basement. According to the documentary The Girl Next Door, underneath Stacy Valentine (wait a minute - got the mental picture - ahhhh. Now move on.) lies a real woman, Stacy Baker, who only wants to be loved for who she is. Cut to Stacy with her feet behind her ears. At no point does she seem to realize that who she is is a porn star.

Stacy's story starts simply. She grew up an only child, becoming a housewife because "…that's what you do in Tulsa." Initially she resisted posing nude, but her husband insisted that it would turn him on if she got published. He was wrong. Instead, we got turned on, he got jealous and Stacy got divorced. Leaving Oklahoma behind, she quickly rose to the top of the adult film industry.

Unlike many other adult film actresses, Stacy denies any deep-seated trauma motivating her career choice. Though there are hints that her father was physically abusive ("he spanked out of anger"), not even her remarried mother can offer up anything specific. Instead, Stacy tells us from the beginning, sex is just something she really, really does well. And though director Christine Fugate shoots sex scenes with strategically (and annoyingly) placed crewmembers blocking any money shots, clearly Stacy is right. Porn provides her a strange validation, countering her incredibly low self-esteem.

Stacy seems ambivalent about her career, knowing that it shocks a lot of people. Her childhood friend speaks to the camera, taken aback at how an excited Stacy called her to share the experience of her first double penetration. The friend asks, "How can you get behind that?" (Uh, you circle around, spread those cheeks, and….) Stacy's mother gives what support she can, showing up for awards ceremonies and the like, but refusing to watch her films. (Her stepfather expresses interest, but allows that it might seem incestuous.) All mom wants is for Stacy to find someone to take care of her if something happens, all any mother wants for her daughter, really. But not everybody has a sex machine for a child.

Alternately bubbling with excitement about her body and lamenting its unreality, Stacy gives the camera access to all her various surgeries in her quest to be the ultimate sex star. Her hips, lips, and breasts get done several times with nauseating explicitness; it's weird to see actual funbags on the surgery tray. After seeing this, implants might lose their allure. Okay, just kidding, but they can't help Stacy find true love.

It doesn't help that she doesn't seem to interact with anyone outside of the industry. And clearly, every man she knows really just wants to nail her, on and off screen. (For the right price, they can.) Early on, a series of stunt cocks beg the fey director for a shot at giving Stacy a back door delivery. Some actors jockey for more lines in a scene; these guys just live for da booty.

For a while Stacy manages a romance with an actor billed simply as "Julian." They seem good for each other; both project a sweet innocence that belies the sweaty monkey love paying the bills. The subplot of their love provides much of the film's suspense. She claims it's an issue of her not trusting him, but Julian is allowed a lot of freedom. He can have sex with whomever he wants; he just can't hold that person's hand. For the record, guys, if you're ever offered that deal, learn not to hold hands with other people. What it boils down to is a question that faces a lot of couples: can the man handle it when the woman is more successful than he is?

More importantly, can he handle a woman's unbridled ambition? Stacy claims to want to retire, but a new brass ring keeps appearing for her. And really, there is no evidence that she can do anything else. The documentary stages a scene of Stacy updating her website, but all that is actually shown is her typing the correct URL. She expresses interest in becoming a make-up artist, but at no point do we see her applying any make-up. To go full circle, all Stacy really can do is have sex.

Refreshingly, this documentary seems okay with that. With relatively few clichés, the film portrays a woman who really could be someone you know. She likes animals. She lives in a modest house in the suburbs. And during the day she gets paid to go at it like a weasel on video. It beats writing for a living.

Actually, after seeing this you might find the adult film industry to be akin to pro wrestling. People create alter egos that take over their lives. They undergo surgery to allow them to continue in the business. And often, they don't seem to know when to leave the industry, staging retirements that don't stick (hello, Terry Funk). Wouldn't you rather smell what the Valentine has cooking?

I initially reviewed this film in 2000 for Daily Radar. Since then, Stacy did retire for a few years, before coming back in something called Tits Ahoy. With the release this week of the teen sex comedy with the same name (and a quick check of Amazon reveals two other movies with that name as well), it's a safe bet that this documentary will soon be available for your home viewing pleasure. Make of it what you will.

Derek McCaw

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