Tickled movie poster

David Farrier is a New Zealand journalist who sets out to do a human interest story on the world of competitive endurance tickling videos. But the nasty and virulent resistance he encounters — the people behind the videos want nothing to do with a “little gay Kiwi” and even go so far as to lawyer up —  makes him think there is more to the story. Together with co-director Dylan Reeve, he travels to Los Angeles and starts finding people whose participation in the videos has led to online harassment and humiliation. (The ticklers were well paid, but they didn’t sign on to have their names trumpeted on the internet.) The more he investigates the “tickling empire,” the more everything points toward a single, mysterious, unpleasant, even malevolent source. What he eventually discovers is nasty indeed, but also more than a little sad — such that the turning of the tables on a media bully may leave you wondering if all the flying, driving, staking out, and surreptitious recording was entirely worth it. There are lessons to be learned here; hopefully, they will shine through the murk. 2016.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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