by Luke Copping
This Film is Not Yet Rated
Directed By: Kirby Dick
This Film is Not Yet Rated is a scathing and humorous investigation of the Motion Picture Association of America, the group responsible for rating and reviewing films released in the US theatre system. Kirby Dick’s documentary goes so deep into the MPAA system as to submit his own film about the MPAA to them for rating and review by their secretive review board. Report on the hypocrisy and disingenuous motives of this organization leads Dick to hire a private detective to track down the identities of the MPAA review and appeals boards, persons whose identities are kept secret supposedly to prevent outside influence from affecting their opinions about the films they review, despite the fact, as the film shows, that these same reviewers are in constant contact with the film studios who make the movies they review.
Dick’s style is a good blend of entertaining filler mixed with actual investigation and sincere documentary filmmaking. There are however moments that call some accuracy into question, namely the comically condescending tone of voice in the recreations of phone conversations with two MPAA officials who refused to let their real recordings be used. The high point of the film is when Dick actually submits his film about the MPAA to them for review and the ensuing appeals process involved. This segment of the film, minus the two aforementioned recreations was the most illuminating segment in regards to the actual workings of the organization. The film is an informative curiosity, a well made documentary on a very specific part of the American film industry, and it is worth the watch if the subject interests you.