Jim Carrey and Judd Apatow Highlight Double Standards with Violence in Films
Brad Pitt’s World War Z did great at the box office this weekend but it’s family-friendly PG-13 rating drew ire from some. The film about zombies attacking cities across the world was intense but without much blood avoided the R-rating. But the body count was really high, with deaths numbering in the thousands (though, does it really count when the victim is already un-dead?).
Judd Apatow reacted the mayhem of films like World War Z and Man of Steel and tweeted about the relatively hypocracy about the MPAA ratings board, which has ruled for years that you can have a single “Fuck” in a PG-13 film, but not two.
Funny how you can annihilate half of NY or Any city and get a PG 13 rating but say fuck twice and you get an R.
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) June 23, 2013
It’s true that violence has always been an easier and more commercial “sell” than films filled with profanity, sexuality, or other mature themes. One of the most controversial films in recent years was Kick-Ass. The film was based on the comic, but despite a high body count including torture of several of the main characters, the controversy with the film generally centered on costar Chloë Grace Moretz saying “cunt” even though the actress was 11 years-old.
Kick-Ass proved to be a big enough hit to warrant a sequel, coming this August. Along with Moretz, returning actors include Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the title character and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as “Red Mist” and “The Motherfucker.” Trailers indicate Kick-Ass 2 will have the same extreme mix of violence and profanity as the first in the series.
Ho hum you say? Well, that’s not the feeling of costar Jim Carrey who appears in the film as Colonel Stars and Stripes. The comic star was looking for a comeback vehicle, and the hip Kick-Ass franchise seemed to be the place. Then Sandy Hook happened and caused Carrey to re-examine his values. A few months ago, he famously released “Cold Dead Hand” with an anti-gun message. The star is now distancing himself from Kick-Ass 2, tweeting:
I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to e
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 23, 2013
I meant to say my apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart. — Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 23, 2013
Meanwhile, Kick-Ass comic creator Mark Millar wrote on his website that he was disappointed with Carrey, noting the nothing in the finished film was different than the script that Carrey read more than a year ago. And while Carrey’s movie career has been defined by comedic roles the have been scenes featuring violence in The Cable Guy and Ace Ventura that were played for laughs.
But, in this respect, I’m more than willing to give Carrey a pass. I do think there are seminal moments that can cause you to reevaluate your position on key subjects and there’s nothing to indicate that Carrey’s objection is anything but sincere.