Clerks filmmaker Kevin Smith has a long history of tussling with the Motion Picture Association of America over his films’ ratings, and apparently that isn’t going to change with his upcoming, teen-friendly horror movie Yoga Hosers.
Smith recently took his grievances to Instagram following the news of Yoga Hosers receiving a restricted, adults-only R rating from the MPAA. The reason behind the rating? A crude sketch on the cover of a book that’s shown for a brief moment in the film.
And yes, it really does seem to be that ridiculous.
According to Smith, the MPAA handed down the restricted rating due to a scene in which Johnny Depp’s character holds up the cover of a book on which someone has drawn a pair of testicles. In response to the news, Smith posted a photo of the offending scene (and sketch), and offered up a long description of what led up to the MPAA’s ruling, as well as what he plans to do next.
The #MPAA gave my kids movie @YogaHosers an R rating for a cartoony drawing of testicles on a book cover. So now, for the 4th time in my 22 year career, we will hold an appeals screening with the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board and try to get the R overturned for a less severe (and far more appropriate) PG-13. I also ran afoul of the MPAA the first time I made a movie set in a convenience store, when they initially slapped Clerks with an NC-17 rating for language. Back then, Harvey Weinstein hired mega-lawyer Alan Dershowitz and turned our rating appeal into a Free Speech case. But on the day of the actual appeals screening, it was just me and the Miramax lawyer getting up in front of the appeals folks to argue for a less restrictive rating without having to change or trim any shots. We won that day and Clerks received the R rating without a single cut. The next two occasions I fought an MPAA rating was on Jersey Girl (won a PG-13 instead of the R they gave us) and Zack and Miri Make a Porno (which went from an NC-17 to an R, without cuts). I don't mind doing this dance with the MPAA a fourth time (hey – at least they even OFFER an appeals screening) but this #YogaHosers R rating is riDONKulous. The core audience for the flick is tween girls (it's Clueless meets Gremlins!), so I refrained from salty language to make a totally kid-friendly movie. And while it's a "horror" movie, there's no blood on display: when our Bratzi bad guys get killed, concentrated sauerkraut explodes everywhere – not guts or entrails. Honestly, this movie is TAME (or "lame" according to some reviews). Even so, next week I'll screen the flick for the MPAA appeals audience and, lawyer-like, plead my case for why the film is really PG-13 – all so that I can keep the graffiti drawing of nuts on a fictional library book in my goofy girl-power monster movie. Weird life. Mind you, this is NOT a First Amendment issue at all; instead, it's the very definition of a First World Problem. But before I can tour the movie in June & July and release it in theaters this August, I'm gonna have to win #TheBattleForTheBalls! #KevinSmith #harleyquinnsmith #lilyrosedepp #johnnydepp
“The #MPAA gave my kids movie @YogaHosers an R rating for a cartoony drawing of testicles on a book cover,” wrote Smith in the caption for the photo. “So now, for the 4th time in my 22 year career, we will hold an appeals screening with the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings board and try to get the R overturned for a less severe (and far more appropriate) PG-13.”
According to Smith, Yoga Hosers was made with a teenage audience in mind, making the R rating that much more problematic. Although the film received mixed reviews when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Smith insists that he’s aiming for a “tween girls” audience for the film, which co-stars his daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose Melody Depp.
The film, which follows a pair of Canadian teenagers who get caught up in a quest to thwart an ancient evil rising from under the ground, is still waiting to receive its official theatrical release date, which is likely pending the final rating handed down by the MPAA.