This Film Is Very Indignant

From the desk of The Movie Snob

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (D+). This documentary aims to be an exposé of the Motion Picture Association of America, the shadowy and secretive organization responsible for branding movies with the familiar G/PG/PG-13/R/NC-17 ratings. Director Kirby Dick is plainly outraged at the MPAA’s high-handed and seemingly arbitrary behavior, the word “censorship” is used with abandon, and longtime MPAA president Jack Valenti is shown in lots of filmclips that make him look sinister and dishonest. The movie was interesting insofar as it explained the movie-rating process, and I’ll give it due credit for exposing some apparent falsehoods the MPAA propagates about itself. But the movie’s tone is too shrill, its position is too one-sided, and it contains too many time-wasting diversions, like the endless scenes in which the director and his private investigators try to figure out who the MPAA’s anonymous raters are. Even if the director has some valid points, which I think he does, he never asks whether the average American parent appreciates and generally agrees with the MPAA’s work. I think that would have been a question worth asking. Note — the MPAA gave this movie an NC-17 rating because of the numerous sex scenes (all clips from other movies), but the director chose to release it unrated instead.

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