Not a week goes by these days without some much-cherished film or TV show from years gone by getting a reboot, remake or reimagining.
For the most part, these returns feel entirely unwarranted, with most die hard fans usually up in arms at the idea of anyone messing with the formula.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective might be the first exception to the rule though. Released well over two decades ago, the Jim Carrey comedy vehicle is all set for a reboot, according to a report from Deadline.
On the face of it, the decision stinks: Ace Ventura is an undeniably funny film and one that helped lay out the blue print for Carrey’s comedy stylings. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a film steeped in offensive stereotypes and both transphobia and homophobia among other things.
Carrey plays Ace, the pet detective tasked with tracking down Miami Dolphin’s mascot Snowflake – an animal who immediately learn has been living in grim captivity, trapped in a tank that resembles a modestly-sized swimming pool at best. And why does Ventura need to rescue the dolphin? So Snowflake can perform tricks at half time. Christ. It’s a set up worthy of Seaworld and one that warrants its own Blackfish-style documentary.
Ace is soon on the tail of disgraced ex-Dolphins kicker Ray Finkle, who blew a chance at winning the Super Bowl in 1984 and blamed teammate Dan Marino. After speaking with his parents and finding out Finkle was sectioned and later escaped, Ace and Miami Dolphins publicist Melissa Robinson (Courteney Cox) head to Tampa mental hospital to find out more.
While Melissa speaks to his doctor, Ace, in another tasteful nod, goes “undercover” as someone suffering mental health issues, which apparently involves donning a pink tutu, adopting a silly voice, gurning and constantly talking about fantasy football.
At one point, he is able to break away from Melissa and the Doc by slamming his face into a bench and then pretending to go to sleep for 20 minutes. Because that’s what all “crazy” people do, right?
Yet for all the Seaworld comparisons and dodgy portrayals of mental health, the film’s biggest crimes are against the LGBT community.
You get a sense half-way through the film of these attitudes when Ace embarks on a mission to try and hunt down all the possible suspects boasting a 1984 AFC Championship ring – long before he hones in on Fickle.
Following one player to the toilet, where he stands beside him at a urinal, the player catches Ace looking at his hands and as Ventura walks off, “prances” after him with his arms aflutter, suggesting he is expectant of a hook up. Where do you start with this?
Yet it’s the movie’s big revelation near the end, when it turns out Ray Finkle is now Lois Einhorn (Sean Young) a local police lieutenant who recently kissed ace. “Finkle is Einhorn!” Ace says.
“Einhorn is a man!” Cut to scenes of Ace, vomiting into a toilet, frantically brushing his teeth, stinking a plunger on his mouth, burning his clothes and crying in a shower. All while Boy George’s “The Crying Game” plays in the background. Jeeze.
You would think it could get any worse or humiliating – but it does.
In the film’s finale, surrounded by cops, Ace attempts to convince everyone of Einhorn’s identity by stripping off her clothes, hoping to reveal male genitalia. Pretty bad in itself.
Things are ramped up one step further though after Dan Marino tips off Ace to something he noticed. Ventura is then able to spin Einhorn round to reveal the bulge of a penis and balls tucked back.
All of the cops present begin gagging, highlighting the fact they have all kissed her and are disgusted at the idea she was once a man. So just to round that up: Einhorn is seen as a mentally unstable, transgender individual capable of murder.
Ace Ventura Pet Detective might be a funny movie but there is a mean spirit to much of the comedy which sent a wholly negative message to a whole generation of kids. There are plenty of great jokes in this movie – just none of the ones involving transgender people or the mentally unwell.
If nothing else, a reboot offers a chance to make a film that focuses on comedy for one and all – not comedy that pokes fun the marginalised in society and perpetrates dated stereotypes.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.