I thought it wasn't possible to view the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board with more disgust and contempt than I already did, but they've managed to surprise me. Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's joyful, enriching drama about a poor young man going all the way on India's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has been slapped with an R rating for "some violence, disturbing images and language."
Speaking of language, the MPAA is full of s***. Big, meaty piles of s***. Slumdog Millionaire (to be released Nov. 12) has a couple of F-bombs (just like most PG-13 films), some moderate other profanity, a couple of intense moments, and some non-graphic violence. In fact, as Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta (citing Alex Billington) has pointed out, there are several instances in the film where Boyle has obviously cut away to avoid showing anything too strong. Clearly he had a PG-13 rating in mind, and as someone who watches a few hundred new movies every year, let me tell you: This is a PG-13 movie. Its content is right in line with the vast majority of PG-13 movies.
Yet for some reason, the MPAA has given it an R. Let me steal a bit from Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers: Really?! Really, MPAA? You think the pencil-impaling, face-melting antics of The Dark Knight fall within the bounds of PG-13 acceptability, but a few gunshots and tense situations put Slumdog Millionaire over the line into R territory? Really? And the decapitations and mass slaughters of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian -- a film aimed directly at children -- only gets a PG (a PG!!) while Slumdog Millionaire gets an R? Really?! MPAA, if you were a judge, you'd be letting rapists go free while sentencing jaywalkers to the electric chair. I've seen more sober reasoning and sound judgment at a frat party. Michael Vick had more common sense than you.