Sean Donnelly’s disturbing documentary focuses on a pair of unstable characters that share an obsessive passion for the late 1980s pop star Tiffany.
Jeff Turner, a 52-year-old in Santa Cruz, Calif., once took his fan worship to a bizarre extreme – he tried to present the singer with a samurai sword, which resulted in a highly publicized restraining order. (All appears to be forgiven, as Turner shows off recent snapshots taken with the star.) Turner states that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, though some of his behavior suggests far more significant mental health issues – in a deleted scene included in the DVD’s special features, he insists that Tiffany’s family offered but reneged on a marriage agreement.
Thirty-five-year-old Denver hermaphrodite Kelly McCormick has a shifting devotion to Tiffany – the focus bounces between romantic pining to quasi-religious consideration to mild wishes for a regular friendship. Turner and McCormick are brought together to attend a Tiffany performance at what appears to be a gay club in Las Vegas, but the duo’s personalities never click and the result is a dismal union on dubious common ground.
At too many points, Turner and McCormick babble pathetically and incoherently about the singer. (Tiffany is only briefly glimpsed in her stage act and is never interviewed, nor is any of her music played.) Yet in their Tiffany talk, the pair often seems to be speaking more about themselves – McCormick’s problematic road to achieving a defined sexual personality and Turner’s aimless odyssey between bizarre delusions and emotional isolation.
This is not an easy film to endure, though it deserves commendation for its straightforward look at celebrity-fixated mental illness.