Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Movie Review
It begins with a dolphin. Snowflake, the Dolphins football team's mascot, has been kidnapped and after a brief search, it is decided that only one man is right for the job: Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey). Ventura specializes in crimes involving animals being stolen, lost or mistreated. He's also a total loon; hiding about two dozen species of animal in his apartment, taking dips in shark tanks and harboring an affinity for making his butt talk. When Ace, along with the football teams business assistant Melissa Robinson (Courteney Cox), takes the case, it leads him to a football player, Ray Finkle, who was fired after missing a field goal in the Super Bowl. The murder count rises and the morale of the Dolphins' players' dips as Ace tries to track down Snowflake before the "big game," while also butting heads with Lieutenant Lois Einhorn (a particularly thorny Sean Young).
As one might suspect, the plot is flimsy, but it's steel-reinforced compared to movies that have followed in its footsteps. Example: Finkle, as the villain, has a solid background, and there's a certain, strange fright to him. The trip Ace takes to visit Finkle's parents conjures up equal feelings of humor and haunting, especially during the screening in Finkle's childhood room. Small scenes like that are what sets Ventura just a little ahead of the pack.
Of course, the main draw is Carrey, unleashed and with a six-pack of Jolt Cola in him. It's hard to remember that before his tight, graceful performances in movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Man on the Moon, and The Truman Show, Carrey was actually introduced to us as a manic menace, fresh of his Fire Marshal Bill routines on In Living Color. He was equally hyper in Dumb & Dumber and The Mask, but Ace Ventura holds that all-too-rare B-movie feel, coupled with a budding stars first chance to show what he can do. The frenetic energy he shows in the dinner party scene and the mental hospital scene could power 100 pitter-patter comedies, but here, it's in damn near every scene. All this gives Ventura an authentic feeling; there's something in it that triggers feelings of ownership and discovery, as if you were the first to "figure it out." It's not exactly rare, but it gives the movie an edge. Did I mention that Tone Loc is in it? He's really good too.