Problematic jokes that deserve to be deleted from hit films

These gags would not cut the mustard in 2019. (Columbia Pictures/Paramount/Disney-Pixar)
These gags would not cut the mustard in 2019. (Columbia Pictures/Paramount/Disney-Pixar)

Hollywood is still reeling from the #MeToo movement and has found itself re-evaulating old movies from a more progressive viewpoint.

We recently learned that Toy Story 2 has been edited to remove a 'casting couch' joke from the end credits, while animation The Queen's Corgi came under fire for featuring a joke about Donald Trump saying "grab some puppy" - a reference to his infamous "locker room talk" scandal of 2016.

We'll save you a job, Hollywood: these ten movies all contain off-colour jokes that did not age well...

Iron Man - Tony and Pepper slut-shame a reporter

Leslie Bibb's Christine Everheart grills Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in <i>Iron Man</i> (2008)
Leslie Bibb's Christine Everheart grills Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in Iron Man (2008)

Even the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not have a squeaky clean record. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark matured considerably over the course of his tenure, morphing from moral vacuum to mentor and saviour, but while he makes amends for his warmongering, the first Iron Man movie never really addressed his treatment of women, specifically his dalliance with Christine Everheart.

Read more: MCU plots that got cut

Tony seduces the professional reporter, who succumbs to his charms, but he later brags about sleeping with her in crass terms (“I got stuck doing a piece for Vanity Fair”). To make matters worse, Pepper boots her out of Stark’s pad the morning after, slut-shaming her by referring to her as “trash”.

It’s a joke, but at Everheart’s expense - and Tony suffers no blowback for sleeping around.

Cars - Flashing fans and topless waitresses

These Lightning McQueen superfans give him an eyeful. (Disney/Pixar)
These Lightning McQueen superfans give him an eyeful. (Disney/Pixar)

As if the concept of sentient cars wasn’t weird enough - seriously, how do they exist? - John Lasseter’s automobile extravaganza had a weird sexual undercurrent to it. Don’t believe us? Well, the BBFC beg to differ: the reason Cars is rated PG in the UK is allegedly due to the scene in which two of Lightning McQueen’s female groupies excitedly flash their, ahem, ‘headlights’ at him.

Later, we see a sign for the 'Top-Down Truckstop' which boasts about its “All convertible waitresses”. Despite inconsistency on which bits of the car are supposed to be the naughty bits, such raunchy jokes come off as completely inappropriate for a family movie. Oh, and did you catch the “lemon party” joke in Cars 2? Google it. On second thoughts, don’t.

Ghostbusters - Sexy ghost performs spectral favours

Ray gets into the spirit of things. (Columbia Pictures)
Ray gets into the spirit of things. (Columbia Pictures)

When they said busting makes them feel good, we had no idea this is what the Ghostbusters were talking about. The incredibly odd scene in which Dan Aykroyd’s character Ray apparently receives oral sex from a female ghost - at least that’s what Ray’s undone zipper and crude cross-eyed expression suggests - was allegedly part of a longer cut scene involving Ray’s ghostly love interest.

Read more: Ghostbusters 2020 announced

Clearly the creative team couldn’t bear to part with it, and Aykroyd still has no regrets about the scene, claiming that, if anything, it was realistic. “In paranormal research that’s a common thing, ghosts doing sexual things to people," says Aykroyd. "I have a friend who had three women visit him in a haunted house in Louisiana and it was one of the greatest nights of his life.”

The Cat in the Hat - “Dirty hoe”

There's much to dislike about Mike Myers' live-action Dr Seuss movie The Cat in the Hat but it contains one bafflingly crude joke that sticks out like a sore thumb. For reasons unexplained, Myers' titular feline pops up in one scene holding a gardening implement, before turning to it and calling it a "Dirty hoe".

At this point I will remind you that this movie was marketed for kids and was rated PG. The Cat in the Hat tosses away the hoe before taking it back, telling the hoe he loves it, then attempting to lick the hoe. The only thing weirder than watching this scene is writing a description of it.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective - Finkle is Einhorn

Jim Carrey and Sean Young in <i>Ace Ventura: Pet Detective</i> (Warner Bros.)
Jim Carrey and Sean Young in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Warner Bros.)

It’s astonishing to watch back Jim Carrey’s ‘90s star vehicle in the current climate, knowing that the entire movie hinges on a last act twist that is firmly rooted in intolerance. Ventura cracks the case when he realises that Sean Young’s Lieutenant Lois Einhorn and missing footballer Ray Finkle are one and the same person - and Ace kissed her/him.

The reveal that Einhorn/Finkle is trans is met with horror and derision; Ace throws up, burns his clothes and sobs in the shower like a sexual abuse victim, while his fellow police officers all vomit and wretch at the very idea of a man posing as a woman. Not cool, Ace.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin - “Know how I know you’re gay?”

Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen in <i>The 40-Year-Old Virgin</i>. (Universal Pictures)
Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. (Universal Pictures)

Seth Rogen recently expressed regret for this sequence in the Judd Apatow comedy and acknowledged it hasn’t aged well - and that there may come a time where his entire body of work is “unwatchable”.

The scene, where Rogen and Paul Rudd’s characters sling gay insults at each other, is one of the comedian’s biggest missteps. “I’ve had people come up to me and be like, ‘That made me feel like s*** when I was in the movie theatre and everyone was laughing about that’... I don’t want anybody to have that experience watching our movies.”

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Romeo & Juliet law

Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz in <i>Transformers: Age of Extinction</i> (Paramount)
Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz in Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount)

No, you didn’t imagine it: the fourth Transformers movie really did have an entire scene explaining exactly how Jack Reynor’s character was allowed to be sleeping with Mark Wahlberg’s teenage daughter. “We’ve got a pre-existing juvenile foundational relationship, statute 2705-3,” brags Reynor to an unimpressed Wahlberg, flashing his laminated card.

Read more: Bumblebee 2 announced

Cringe all you like, but Michael Bay wanted us to know he was cool with his 20-year-old boy racer sleeping with a minor, having him recite the terms of Texas’s real ‘Romeo and Juliet’ law, in which a consensual sexual relationship between an adult a minor is allowed as long as the age gap is no bigger than three years and they are over the age of 14. It’s all above board but it’s still a dubious and unnecessary pit-stop - and the scene features considerably more exposition than was afforded to the movie’s robot dinosaurs. Reynor recently distanced himself from the scene in question, calling it “a problematic joke”.

Wedding Crashers - Male rape played for laughs

Actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn pose for pictures on the red carpet during premiere of "Wedding Crashers" in New York City.  Actors Owen Wilson (L) and Vince Vaughn pose for pictures on the red carpet during the New York premiere of "Wedding Crashers" in New York City July 13, 2005. REUTERS/Seth Wenig
Actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn pose for pictures on the red carpet during premiere of "Wedding Crashers", 2005. (REUTERS/Seth Wenig)

The entire concept of Wedding Crashers is problematic to say the least: it's a comedy that wants us to cheer for two skeezy guys who gain unlawful access to weddings in order to lie to women and sleep with them under false pretences. Ha… ha? However, it contains one specific scene which we struggle to believe was ever funny; Vince Vaughn's character is tied to a bed by Isla Fisher, has a sock stuffed in his mouth and is forced to have sexual intercourse with her despite his repeated protestations.

The following morning, Vaughn's character claims to have been "raped" and compares himself to Jodie Foster in The Accused. Don't even get us started on the movie's predatory gay misfit, who naturally finds Vaughn irresistible. Wedding Crashers is the movie equivalent of Men's Rights activists.

Legally Blonde - Elle outs a gay guy

Think of Legally Blonde's Elle Woods and you think of a forward-thinking modern woman, who challenged stereotypes of what a woman could be - right? It's a shame that Elle's attitudes towards gay men were not quite so progressive.

Reese Witherspoon's lawyer plays a hunch and advertently outs a witness as gay to win a case, based solely on outdated stereotypes ("Gay men know designers, straight men don't!"). The reveal is played as a punchline and compounded by the now-homosexual witness's boyfriend standing up and calling him a "bitch" in front of the courtroom. It's all a bit last century.

Shallow Hal - Fat shaming

The poster for <i>Shallow Hal</i> (20th Century Fox)
The poster for Shallow Hal (20th Century Fox)

The Farrelly Brothers were never ones to take comedy lightly - lest I remind you that they made entire movies based on schizophrenia (My, Myself & Irene) and disability (The Ringer, Stuck On You) - but they outdid themselves with Shallow Hal.

Read more: The truth behind cinema’s most controversial sex scene

Ostensibly, the movie tells a story about a man who sees women's inner beauty and not their physical appearance, which is admirable in principle, if it weren't for the fact that Shallow Hal takes every available opportunity to ridicule obese women. Worse, it uses Gwyneth Paltrow - healthy living progenitor and vagina steamer - to sell that message, a moral which is completely lost beneath several rolls of flabby fat-suit. 18 years later, Peter Farrelly would go on to win Best Picture with Green Book, a movie which did for racism what Shallow Hal did for obesity.