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'Shame' Gets Spanked By MPAA's NC-17 Rating

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan in "Shame"
Fox Searchlight

It looks like the MPAA is intent on spanking everyone involved in Steve McQueen-directed sex addict drama "Shame," but it's never quite as fun as it sounds.

While 99 minutes of Michael Fassbender in various states of undress would usually get an A in our books, it seems that the MPAA doesn't consider the male full-frontal family fare, and has slapped the movie with an NC-17 rating.

The "X Men: First Class" actor stars in the film as Brandon, a well-to-do New Yorker whose habit of banging everything he can get his hands on is rudely interrupted when his capricious younger sister, played by "Drive" star Carey Mulligan, decides to move in with him.

Deadline reports that "Shame" was given the rating because of the film's sexual content and nudity. The prospect of such a rating was well understood by the film's distributor, Fox Searchlight, who committed to a contractual obligation pre-purchase that held them responsible for keeping the film as-is regardless of the MPAA's rating decision.

Despite the harsh rating, which could severely limit audience turnout, Fox Searchlight is embracing the controversy. Studio president Steve Gilula says of the rating, ""I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner… It's not a film that everyone will take easily, but it certainly breaks through the clutter and is distinctive and original. It's a game changer."

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