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How badly has Ace Ventura: Pet Detective aged after 30 years?-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

The film has been slammed time and time again for rampant transphobia.

How badly has Ace Ventura: Pet Detective aged after 30 years?-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective has not aged well… (Picture: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock)

It’s been 30 years since Ace Ventura: Pet Detective hit the silver screen and, well, it hasn’t exactly aged like a fine wine, we’ll start there…

Starring Jim Carrey as an eccentric private detective, the American crime comedy follows Ace Ventura on his mission to find the abducted dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins football team.

As the plot escalates, Ventura is soon investigating the murder of the Dolphins’ head of operations, in which he uncovers a known convict, Ray Finkle, who could be the culprit.

So, on a mission to expose the truth, Carrey’s offbeat Ventura goes undercover.

The flick boasts a starry cast, with Courteney Cox, Troy Evans, Sean Young, and Dan Marino all playing a part.

But despite its stellar ensemble and having grossed $107million (£85m) at the box office, the film’s contents don’t make for the most comfortable viewing in 2024.

Jim Carrey stars as a detective in the American crime comedy (Picture: Everett/REX/Shutterstock)

On many occasions, the movie has been branded problematic in modern times, specifically for its rampant transphobia.

Finkle – aka Lieutenant Einhorn, who infiltrated the police for revenge – is actually a trans woman and, well, as you can imagine, for a film made in the 1990s, it doesn’t tick the right boxes.

In one scene, Carrey’s character – aka the good guy for whom viewers are supposed to root – has a vile reaction upon discovering that the former football player is trans.

It comes just minutes after the pair kissed, in which the detective also made a quip about the woman’s ‘gun’ digging into him.

In his moment of revelation, he declares the woman ‘a man.’

He vomits in disgust, then brushes his teeth vigorously in a desperate attempt to cleanse his mouth of the repulsion he seemingly feels.

What follows is the detective taking a toilet plunger to his face to erase the mere existence of a trans person from his brain, clearly wrongly assuming hooking up with her determined him gay.

The movie has been slammed for its rampant transphobia (Picture: Morgan Creek International/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

Oh, but it doesn’t end there, as Carey’s protagonist proceeds to sit naked in the shower, crying as if to wash away any trace of the trans woman from his skin.

Later in the film, we see the detective watching Einhorn from his car, dry retching as he recalls his memory of their rendezvous before getting back to the task at hand: catching the killer.

When Einhorn calls the cops – knowing she’s a lieutenant with the power to frame Ventura – he remarks that he knows what it’s like to feel under pressure because he’s ‘kissed a man’.

The plot is laced with sly jabs, which come to a head with Ventura’s so-called grand plan to confront Einhorn at a yacht storage facility, taking her hostage.

In a dramatic revelation, Ventura exposes Einhorn as Finkle, leading to her arrest after a physical altercation.

Well, that’s the summary, but what actually goes down is far more sinister.

Surrounded by cops, Einhorn endeavours to ‘unmask’ her, initially grabbing her hair to forcefully remove her wig… which she isn’t wearing because, shocker, it’s her real hair.

Ventura aggressively rips open Einhorn’s shirt to show her ‘fake breasts’, flummoxed upon realising they are, in fact, her real breasts.

By this point, none of Ventura’s theories about being framed have been proven. Instead, it’s merely a deranged sexual assault on an officer with multiple witnesses.

And then we come to the climax moment.

In a moment of anguish after realising things weren’t working in his favour, Ventura rips off Einhorn’s skirt to reveal her pants.

Oh, but there’s nothing to see. No bulging… until Dan Marino’s character informs him that Einhorn is tucking.

So, Ventura spins her around and gloriously proclaims that she is not, in fact, a woman and that she was the criminal all along, arguing that his ‘evidence’ stacks up.

The response from the other cops? Well, much like Ventura did earlier, the men begin spitting and scratching their tongues in disgust. The only person who doesn’t seem bothered is Ventura’s love interest, played by Cox.

Trans activist Munroe Bergdorf is among those who have called out the film and its lasting negative impact (Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

So no, it’s not the fact that she’s a murderer and a kidnapper that causes the force to react with such sickness, but rather the fact that she is trans.

The film ends with Cox’s Melissa Robinson making out with Ventura and, well, Einhorn heads to jail as the rest live happily ever after…

Revisiting the film’s story makes it unsurprising that it’s receiving backlash even three decades on, with online commenters still expressing their rage.

‘As a kid being transness wasn’t even a concept for me so every time I watched the end of the movie it was just a weird sexual assault scene that made no sense to the plot. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what violently ripping off this woman’s clothes had to do with the dolphin case’, wrote YouTube user PinkPulpito.

‘So Ace Ventura just… assaults and sexually harasses this woman? That’s insane’, added jm4954.

‘The effectiveness of this “joke” is entirely predicated on people finding trans women, and sleeping with them, disgusting. Hence if you’re a kid (like I was) and don’t understand what the problem is you’re just confused and feeling sorry for Einhorn’, commented miticaBEP07.

Of course, 30 years ago trans visibility wasn’t what it was today.

Depictions of trans folk on the silver screen fed much further into stereotypes and myths, often dehumanising them.

However, just because hindsight is a wonderful thing and we can now view such shocking portrayals through 2024 glasses, that doesn’t make them acceptable.

The film has been slammed multiple times before, like in 2017 when model Munroe Bergdorf recalled the negative lasting impact of watching Ace Ventura: Pet Detective as a child.

She wrote in an Instagram post: ‘As an 8-year-old, I remember watching the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, starring comedian Jim Carey, at a classmate’s house after school.

‘Sorry to ruin the ending if you haven’t seen it (don’t bother), it ends in the movie’s villain being caught, stripped to her underwear and exposed as in fact “a man.” Then to add insult to injury, everyone in the room starts vomiting as they have all engaged in sex with her.

‘Seeing a scene like this including a trans person, played by a cis woman — it may seem trivial to some but I carried that ‘punchline’ throughout my adolescence, it made me feel guilty and confused about who I truly was, so I pushed my true self into my subconscious and tried to be someone I was not.’

Bergdorf added: ‘Fast forward two decades and I am so proud to be doing my bit for transgender visibility in the media. I’m by no stretch of the imagination a perfect person, but none of us are.’

Despite the team being keen for another outing for the eccentric detective, we’ll steer clear… (Picture: Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock)

UFC commentator and radio host Joe Rogan has even condemned the film, branding it ‘insanely transphobic’ on his show in 2019.

Alas, after much digging, it doesn’t appear that Carrey himself has addressed his film’s unsettling story.

After all, it was one of the movies that catapulted Carrey into the public consciousness, with fans previously expressing interest in him reprising the role.

While (thankfully) it doesn’t appear to be on the cards, we’re still hoping that idea never comes to fruition, at least not in the way it did in 1994.

At the time, the gags in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective were exactly that – gags. Except, those ‘gags’ don’t wash anymore, and all the transphobia being brushed off as humour only further proves how badly the film has aged over time.

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