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The Girl Next Door

Executive producer, Michael Berns. Co-executive producers, Chris Korbin, Craig Steel.

Executive producer, Michael Berns. Co-executive producers, Chris Korbin, Craig Steel.

Directed by Christine Fugate. Camera (color), Fugate, Neal Brown; editors, Fugate, Kate Amend; music, Denis M. Harrigan; music supervisors, Michele Wernick , John Loken. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, April 3, 2000. (In Berlin Film Festival — market.) Running time: 83 MIN.

There’s something creepily Stepford Wife–like about the cheery insouciance of porn star Stacy Valentine in “The Girl Next Door,” Christine Fugate’s facile but fitfully intriguing docu about life and work in the video skin trade. It’s often difficult to tell whether Fugate wants to celebrate or satirize Valentine — nee Stacy Baker, an Oklahoma housewife originally pushed into adult entertainment by an abusive husband — and even harder to judge if Valentine is a self-deluding bimbo or a smarter-than-she-seems self-promoter. Critical reaction likely will be mixed, at best, but exploitable subject matter should ensure a few theatrical dates.

Valentine takes pains to insist she is nobody’s victim. She wasn’t sexually abused as a child, she isn’t a drug addict, and she takes inordinate pride in her work. “I know I’m good at sex,” she matter-of-factly says. On the other hand , Valentine isn’t nearly so assured when it comes to her appearance. Pic records , in gruesomely vivid detail, her repeated surgical enhancements of her breasts, thighs and lips. Ironically, operating room sequences are the most explicit scenes in “Girl Next Door,” which stops far short of zooming in on hard-core porn action.

The Girl Next Door

(DOCU)

Production: An Indican Pictures release of a Cafe Sisters production in association with Berns Brothers Prods. Produced by Christine Fugate, Adam Berns, Eren McGinnis.

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