Ace Ventura: Pet Detective parents guide

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Parent Guide

Loaded with offensive material, this comedy just isn't funny.

Overall D

Ace Ventura has made a career out of finding lost pets and collecting the rewards. So when the aquatic mascot of the Miami Dolphins goes missing, the team turns to the crack pet detective for help... but the case quickly escalates, and soon Ventura is competing with the Miami Police to unravel the mystery...

Release date February 4, 1994

Violence B
Sexual Content D
Profanity C
Substance Use A-

Why is Ace Ventura: Pet Detective rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Ace Ventura: Pet Detective PG-13 for off-color humor and some nudity.

Run Time: 86 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is Miami’s foremost (and only) Pet Detective. Whether your dog has run away, your rare albino pigeon has flown the coop, or your ex has wandered off with your pet, Ace is the man to call. So when the mascot for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, a dolphin named Snowflake, is kidnapped, Ace is brought in to crack the case. Unfortunately for Ace, Melissa (Courtney Cox), the executive for the Dolphins responsible for the search, has also called the police. Now facing opposition from Lieutenant Lois Einhorn (Sean Young), Ace only has a few days to find Snowflake before the Super Bowl! Even worse, the closer Ace gets, the more dangerous the case becomes…

Nineties comedies had pretty broad license to get away with crude humor - in a time before the internet, it took a lot more to mobilize serious opposition to offensive comedy. Safe to say, this movie would be impossible to make as-is now. The blatantly negative treatment of LGBTQ people coupled with some jarringly explicit sexual jokes in a film aimed at children just doesn’t fly with a 21st century audience.

The transphobia is really one of the worst parts of the film. I can’t give out much context without revealing major plot spoilers but take my word for it that it is both violent and almost completely avoidable. Nothing about the premise of this film necessitated a sharp turn into aggressive transphobia - especially in the early 90s, when representation for trans people in film was already extremely limited and largely negative.

Beyond that, the parade of explicit sexual jokes get to be a lot, even for me. Early in the film, our “hero” returns a lady’s dog, and accepts payment in…ahem…sexual favors. A remarkably loud sex scene (in which all of Ventura’s animals sit around the bed, watching bug-eyed) does little to make the film more appropriate for children.

I’m willing to put up with some raunchy jokes in a kids’ movie - take Shrek, for instance. That movie is absolutely littered with adult jokes, but they’re subtle enough that no one under age 12 is likely to pick up on what’s going on. Not so with Ace Ventura. This is an hour and a half of material unsuitable for children, and unpalatable for adults. There are easier and less offensive ways to waste 90 minutes of your life, trust me.

Directed by Tom Shaydac. Starring Jim Carrey, Sean Young, and Cortney Cox. Running time: 86 minutes. Theatrical release February 4, 1994. Updated

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Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Rating & Content Info

Why is Ace Ventura: Pet Detective rated PG-13? Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for off-color humor and some nudity.

Violence: There are several scenes which include individuals being punched, usually played comedically. There is a reference to suicide, and blood is seen. 
Sexual Content: There are repeated instances of sexually crude and suggestive dialogue. There is a sex scene which has no nudity. A man’s naked posterior is seen. A woman is shown in her underwear briefly. There is a scene depicting the clear outline of genitals through fabric.
Profanity: There are four uses of scatological profanity and a dozen uses of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Some adult characters are shown drinking wine in the background at a dinner party.

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Jim Carrey’s brand of high-energy slapstick comedy can also be seen in The Mask, Liar Liar, and a sequel, Ace Venture: When Nature Calls. He plays a more serious part in The Truman Show.