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Wednesday, Jun 22 2016
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A fetish for some and an internet-voyeur thing for others, Competitive Endurance Tickling is real. On the lookout for a new story, David Farrier, a pop-culture reporter in New Zealand, happened upon a website for it. What he saw online intrigued him: One guy tied up, being mercilessly tickled by three or four other fit young dudes. Farrier decided to pursue the story on a lark, and the resulting documentary, Tickled — which Farrier produced and stars in — is a low-rent version of Michael Moore's Roger & Me with Farrier assuming the role of an unknowing innocent (but with none of Moore's talents for verve or aggression). The owner of the tickling website cyberbullies Farrier. She doesn't want him to pursue the story. What's obvious to viewers by minute five is that the owner's identity is a cover. She is, in fact, a he, and one with a history of fraud and blackmail, plus a creepy personal backstory. But Farrier takes the audience on a 90-minute journey saving this aha moment for the last few minutes. The potential for a wider narrative — cyber-harm — gets lost as his focus narrows down to a heavy-handed, as in anvils-for-hands heavy, and ineffectual revelation.



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