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private eyes are watching you...

Unrated I guess, but probably R at the very least.

Kirby Dick and many others…

David Ansen: The critical community has never really taken the MPAA very seriously or given it a huge amount of respect.  And we’re often, ya know, very puzzled by some of the decisions they make.  Why people can’t go see this terrific movie just because it has, ya know, this word in it!  It just seems so…kinda childish…even though it’s supposed to protect children…it’s turning us all into children.

A documentary which tries to expose the vagueness and hypocrisy of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) while also trying to uncover just who makes up this secretive body that controls movie ratings.

I think we’ve all watched a movie at some point and thought, “why is this only PG-13?” or “why did this warrant an R rating?”  Well, this documentary basically begins to uncover what we really already knew.  That the ratings system is confusing, wishy-washy, and maybe a bit judgmental.  A sex scene in one movie will garner an NC-17 rating while an identical one in another movie will get only an R.  The difference?  The NC-17 scene involves two people of the same sex.

Violence has it’s share of hypocrisy too.  As long as the violence isn’t too realistic, it’s PG or PG-13.  When you start showing blood and other consequences of violence, the R rating gets slapped on it.  In the documentary, we see various scenes placed side by side with their respective rating on display.  The realism of war as depicted in Saving Private Ryan had the R.  James Bond shooting and killing 4 or 5 guys in about 5 seconds got the PG-13.  The James Bond clip just didn’t have much blood.

While it’s interesting to see it laid out this way, this isn’t exactly surprising or new information.  The only thing I found new, really, was just how secretive the MPAA is.  They don’t want anybody to know who is coming up with the film ratings or what criteria they use for them.  That’s why the filmmakers hired a private detective to figure out who these reviewers are.  She’s a little strange, but she eventually gets the job done, it seems.  By the end, we do have brief glimpses of most of the film raters as well as information on all of them.

Still, I couldn’t help thinking that by the end of the movie, I wasn’t really all that more informed on the subject.  I was entertained by some of the interviews and by some of the detective work, but it never really amounted to as much as I hoped it would.

PG-13 movies are allowed one or two F-bombs, but only as exclamations.

10 – 2 because I didn’t think it was all the informative or revealing – .7 for some dull patches = 7.3