As we get older and gain more life experience, we find that our tastes can change drastically. You can go from hating broccoli to realising you’ve just been cooking it wrong (tip: roast it, with garlic. Crunchalicious!). You can grow up holding relatively conservative beliefs only to find them falling by the wayside as you learn more about the world. And you can go from laughing uproariously at fart and poo jokes to shrugging your shoulders and smiling weakly.
There was a time when Jim Carrey was the king of comedy. His madcap shenanigans were the very definition of side-splitting. Those goofy voices! The gurning! The… er… the goofy voices … and the gurning … yeah, the problem is there’s really not too much to his style of humour. A bunch of obnoxious catchphrases, a face made of rubber and that’s about it. It was appealing to pre-teen me because I was the target audience and my tolerance threshold for puerile and childish humour was still pretty high. As I’ve grown older that’s changed – I still enjoy a spot of the puerile (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?) but presentation is more important to me, and I’m just too annoyed by Jim Carrey’s earlier movies to be able to enjoy them again.
The Ace Ventura films are the worst offenders (although, Dumb and Dumber…) because there’s almost nothing to recommend them. No edge, no interesting story or clever jokes. Just wave after wave of ‘wacky’ antics, followed by oddly-inflected catchphrases instead of punchlines. It was funny to run around shouting ‘alrighty then!’ when I was 13. It’s rather less so now. There’s also the matter of the hideously uncomfortable transmisogyny of the film’s climax, which still makes me cringe when I remember that I found it funny. I like to think I’ve grown as a person since then, though probably not as much as I’d hope. I’m working on being a better person.
I still have a soft spot for a couple of Jim Carrey films; The Mask is still a favourite of mine because all the cartoony gurning stuff actually has a place and a reason within the world of the film, and it’s not just some guy being weird for the sake of being weird. And The Truman Show is a masterpiece, the first time Jim Carrey showed that he could carry a film through actual, you know, acting. Those I can revisit, but the Ace Venturas? No. For me, their time is past.