Kevin Smith Battles With MPA Over the Rating of His Next Movie, The 4:30 Movie

June 10, 2024 - Movies


  • The MPA gave Kevin Smith’s
    The 4:30 Movie
    an R rating, despite Smith’s intentions of making a PG-13 film.
  • This rating dispute with the MPA is unusual for Smith, who has successfully appealed past ratings for his films.
  • Despite no f-bombs, sex, or nudity,
    The 4:30 Movie
    was rated R due to “pervasive innuendo” by the MPA.

Actor and director Kevin Smith has lost a major battle with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) over the age rating for his next project, The 4:30 Movie. Smith shot to fame in the 90s indie cinema scene with his self-funded comedy Clerks. Since then, Smith has become a fan favorite director, creating Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Dogma, and Mallrats, among many others.

Kevin Smith’s The 4:30 Movie was given an R-rating by the MPA, a decision which Smith has already appealed. However, Smith has already appealed the decision, and he revealed on the Inside of You Podcast with Michael Rosembaum that he lost the appeal. “They gave us an R rating on a movie that I intended to be PG-13,” Smith said. The actor/director revealed that before the interview, he had come from an appeals hearing for the film’s rating. Smith argued that his long history of producing r-rated films means he knows exactly what he can and can’t include. He continued:

“My argument for the appeals was very much that I was like there’s three things I know how to do in this world: I can play foosball really well, I know how to walk two German Shepherds on a tandem leash, and I know how to make an R-rated movie. I said, so I know not how to make an R rated movie as well that’s why I intended to make a PG-13 movie with this the fact that you guys made it R means that this sweet little paean to youth about 16 year olds in 1986 who hop from one theater to another who, yes, make a lot of sex jokes but no more than any other teen movie, is the equivalent to The Human Centipede… How on Earth are these two movies in the same category?”

The 4:30 Movie is a Tame Kevin Smith Film

Over his career, Kevin Smith (like a lot of directors) has gone back and forth with the MPA over the initial age rating given to his movies. What separates Smith from other directors is that he usually wins. Films like Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Yoga Hosers all had their ratings reduced after Smith appealed the initial decision – Yoga Hosers‘ rating was reduced simply because Smith announced he would appeal, with no actual campaign necessary. Yet the MPA are remaining firm with their initial rating for The 4:30 Movie. What surprises Smith the most is that he believes the movie is one of his tamest. The director said the film contains no f-bombs (PG-13 movies are usually allowed one), and no sex or nudity.


Best Kevin Smith Films, Ranked

Writer/director Kevin Smith burst onto the scene in a big way in 1994 with Clerks, introducing us to the cast of characters in his Askewniverse.

According to Smith, the MPA were caught up over his use of “pervasive innuendo”, and that is why the film was awarded an R-rating. Smith said:

“They just said ‘Yeah, but it was just like a lot of inuendo.’ But I was like, yeah of course, but there’s no more innuendo than in the average like 8 PM sitcom… They were kind of admitting too, they’re like ‘Well, yeah there’s soft Rs, there’s hard Rs, and you’re right we had a hard time coming up with the rating on this,’ and they were also not 100% committed to it.”

The 4:30 Movie is set in the summer of 1986 and follows three teenagers who spend their weekends sneaking between movie screenings at their local theater. Written and directed by Kevin Smith, the movie stars Austin Zajur (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark), Nicholas Cirillo (Fresh Kills), and Reed Northrup (High Maintenance).

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