Despite the name, “Tickled,” this 2016 documentary is less than light-hearted and confirms that the rich are different.
The odyssey behind this movie began with a New Zealand television reporter, David Farrier, inquiring into what he thought was a light entertainment feature: “competitive endurance tickling.” As Farrier followed the trail behind the online YouTube videos only to meet a hostile reaction from video producer Jane O’Brien Media. This supposed sport is “passionately and exclusively heterosexual athletic endurance activity.”
At this point, you’re probably wondering: Just how does one train for this?
Jane O’Brien Media was more interested in Farrier being homosexual. What? When did a reporter’s sexual preference ever have import in an investigation?
Teaming with television producer Dylan Reeve (whose sexual preference isn’t going to be stated here), Farrier followed up, learning more and doing what any writer would do: He blogged about it. Then Farrier got legal threats from the U.S. and from within New Zealand.
That bullying technique only raised their interests and Farrier and Reeve ended up in Los Angeles and discovered other people who had participated and even been threatened, exposed, defamed by a monied source behind both the tickling fetish (which at times had a homoerotic air). The man at the center of this tale of weirdness is eventually revealed.
The rich are different and money can buy and cover up many sins, even ones that are relatively harmless. “Tickled” won’t leave you laughing unless you’re inspired to make your own videos in hopes of developing a cult following. In this era of a billionaires club presidential cabinet, it might give you political pause.
“Tickled” premiered at the January 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was released in New Zealand in May of 2016 and in the U.S. in June of 2016. “Tickled” is currently streaming (SD) on Amazon Video for $12.99.