Kevin Smith loses MPAA battle over The 4:30 Movie’s R rating

Kevin Smith has lost his latest battle with the MPA, as the ratings board has upheld its decision to give The 4:30 Movie an R.

Last Updated on June 13, 2024

Kevin Smith MPA

Kevin Smith has had his share of clashes throughout his career, with everybody from Bruce Willis to Southwest Airlines. While some have thankfully been squashed, none has been more consistent than his battles with the MPA (formerly the MPAA). Less than one month after it was announced that his next flick, The 4:30 Movie, would be receiving an R, Kevin Smith detailed why the MPA has gone forward with their choice.

Appearing on the Inside of You podcast, Kevin Smith said his latest issue with the MPA arose because he strictly meant to make a PG-13 movie instead of the Rs he is usually associated with. “There’s three things I know how to do in this world: I can play foosball really well, I know how to walk two German Shepherds on a tandem leash, and I know how to make an R-rated movie. I said, so I know not how to make an R rated movie as well that’s why I intended to make a PG-13 movie with this the fact that you guys made it R means that this sweet little paean to youth about 16 year olds in 1986 who hop from one theater to another who, yes, make a lot of sex jokes but no more than any other teen movie, is the equivalent to The Human Centipede… How on Earth are these two movies in the same category?”

While his argument may not be too strong there – there can be a plethora of reasons the MPA gives a movie an R, so The 4:30 Movie isn’t really in the same camp as a horror flick where people get their mouths stitched to buttholes – Kevin Smith does still take issue with the exact reasoning the MPA gave him: excessive amount of innuendo. “I was like, yeah of course, but there’s no more innuendo than in the average, like, 8 p.m. sitcom…They were kind of admitting too, they’re like ‘Well, yeah there’s soft Rs, there’s hard Rs, and you’re right we had a hard time coming up with the rating on this’, and they were also not 100% committed to it.”

Kevin Smith’s appeal to the MPA didn’t take but at least he is still fighting the good fight, something he has been doing for 30 years now. In 1994, Clerks was slapped with an NC-17, a rating that also landed on 2001’s  Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Both were successfully appealed but in doing so Smith sort of marked himself as a target with the board. Even later than those, the poster for Zack and Miri Make a Porno was banned from theaters due to its own innuendo. Tired of dealing with the MPA, Smith even considered not submitting Clerks II to avoid the hassle altogether.

The 4:30 Movie is a coming-of-age tale centering around teens, the cinema and love, all topics that should be made available to its target audience. While we of course haven’t seen the movie yet, I do trust that Kevin Smith knows exactly the content that he not only intended but presented.

Source: Inside of You

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.