Kevin Smith Protests R-Rating for His “Girl-Power Monster Movie,” Yoga Hosers
The MPAA is a bunch of hosers.
Remember Kevin Smith’s teen superhero movie, Yoga Hosers? The film stars Harley Quinn Smith and her IRL bosom buddy Lily-Rose Depp—the daughters of Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp, respectively—as Canadian teens who harness the power of yoga to defeat monsters attempting to keep them from a high school party. The movie premiered at Sundance in January, but Smith revealed over Instagram yesterday that its scheduled summer release is in question now that the MPAA has awarded Yoga Hosers an R rating.
According to Smith, the MPAA is primarily concerned about a cartoon drawing of testicles seen in the film. You can see Johnny Depp holding the controversial nut graffiti below:
Over Instagram, Smith detailed his plans for appealing the rating:
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
I don’t have high hopes for Yoga Hosers as a film; partially because it’s set in the same universe as Kevin Smith’s Tusk, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, and partially because the movie seems to me to be bending over backwards to convince us of its quirkiness. Still, as Smith pointed out in a January interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Yoga Hosers differentiates itself from other teen movies by virtue of casting two actual teens rather than adult actors: “I got the chance to put two teen girls together on a poster. That’s not the way they sell shit now.”
Given that, it’s a shame that the age group actually being represented in Yoga Hosers—the teenz—might have their opportunities to see the film restricted by its R rating. The MPAA’s concerns here also seem like another example of the organizations disproportionate concern over sex-related content versus violence. Without having seen the offending nut graffiti in context, of course, it’s hard to say for sure. But judging from what Smith has said about it, this rating seems, much like the entire concept of Yoga Hosers itself, to be very, very silly.
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