When you go in front of the MPAA to argue down from an NC-17 to an R and you lose, that’s one thing. You probably were making a movie designed to be edgy in the extreme, and the R rating you’ll get will likely be a hard one. But when you’re trying to argue down from an R to a PG-13 and fail, you might be looking at some trouble.
That’s the case with Harold Ramis’ Year One, which the MPAA has rated R despite appeals from the director and Judd Apatow, the producer. The rating board says that the R rating comes from ‘some sexual content and language.’
The problem that the movie now faces is that it’s likely an incredibly soft R. Which means that the movie will likely leave fans looking for raunchy comedy hanging, while keeping the film from reaching a good portion of its intended audience. Year One looks like it’s going heavily for the 15 year old boy demo (zero shame there), and while they may sneak in the film’s box office may yet be impacted.
Of course the movie isn’t out until June. It’s probable that Ramis will go in and make some trims, if possible, to earn that PG-13. But once again we’re seeing the way that the current rating system just doesn’t work – the gap between PG-13 and R is too large. A PG-15 or something similar needs to be created.