Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Critics gagged, audiences roared, and Jim Carrey, who’d been in eight movies (including two with Clint Eastwood) and two TV series (The Duck Factory and In Living Color), yelled “Allll righty, then!” all the way to the bank. Carrey has an endlessly elastic face, a voice to match, and a genuine gift for physical comedy; unfortunately, in the case of this movie, somebody needed to sit him down (or sit on him) and explain the concept “A little goes a long way.” As the eponymous doofus hero, Carrey puts a wacky spin on every damn thing he does, every line he delivers; as a result, he’s funny for about five minutes, after which he becomes boring. You get exhausted watching him, and when he finally lets up and delivers some dialogue in a halfway normal voice, it’s a huge relief.

As for the movie, it’s a witless, sub-Police Academy farce in which Ace hunts for the Miami Dolphins’ stolen mascot. Carrey does meet his match in Sean Young, playing a hard-ass police lieutenant of indeterminate gender. Having accepted the fact that she can’t act, Young manages to shine in roles like this, where it doesn’t matter if she’s bad. The Crying Game twist ending is unnecessary and has the unsavory side effect of teaching millions of young Ace fans that it’s unimaginably gross for a man to kiss a trans woman ­­ — this from a movie whose hero talks out of his asshole. With Courteney Cox, Tone-Loc, Dan Marino, Noble Willingham, Udo Kier (more people probably saw him in this than in all his other movies put together), and Troy Evans. Cannibal Corpse can be seen in a punk dive playing “Hammer Smashed Face.” Followed by Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, a TV cartoon, and the Carrey-less Ace Ventura Jr. Director Tom Shadyac had previously done the Fox TV movie Frankenstein: The College Years. His next was The Nutty Professor, then he reteamed with Carrey for Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty.

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