What Makes a Movie R-rated? 'It's Complicated'

Ever since the Motion Picture Association of America started issuing ratings to movies, there has been much controversy over what should make a movie unsuitable for young people. Is it sex, drugs or violence? All of the above?

The new Meryl Streep movie It's Complicated has stirred the, um, pot with that debate again. Because of an extended plotline involving pot-smoking, the MPAA deemed the movie as inappropriate for people under the age of 17.

And not everyone agrees the movie -- which is free of violence and super-sexy sex scenes -- is deserving of such a rating.

A New York Times article points out that the rating is inconsistent with other movies in its category -- namely, the PG-rated 9 to 5, which features a memorable scene of Dolly Parton and the gang firing up a joint.

This is compared to R-rated classics such as Basic Instinct, which famously showed full-frontal female nudity, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which shows, well, lots of chainsaw massacre scenes.

Still, some are applauding the MPAA's decision to restrict It's Complicated to viewers aged 17 and older.

"The last I checked, smoking pot was still illegal, illicit behavior," said Dan Isett, director of public policy for the Parents Television Council. "Too often material gets rated lower than it should be."

Plus: PHOTOS: Meryl Streep's Top 12 Movie Performances

What do you think merits an R-rating in a film? Chime in below!

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