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For, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: As you’ll see, the two Ace Ventura films that made Jim Carrey a star in the mid-1990s are not among my favorites. Not that I haven’t enjoyed some later Carrey pictures, such as ‘The Mask’ (1994), ‘Liar Liar’ (1997), ‘The Truman Show’ (1998) and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004). But those first two … well, I’ll let my reviews speak for themselves, revived here because Sony has reissued both on Blu-ray for the 25th anniversary of the first film. My review of ‘Ace Ventura, Pet Detective’ was published in the Deseret News on Feb. 4, 1994. The second is reviewed elsewhere on this page.

After enduring "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective," I have new respect for Ernest P. Worrell. A little of Jim Carrey's mugging goofiness goes a long way … and 90 minutes is way too much.

Carrey, a comedian whose biggest claim to fame is a number of weird characters on TV's "In Living Color," stars here as the title character, so-called because he ferrets out a living, so to speak, by rescuing stolen, kidnapped and lost pets. He also takes a vast number of them into his home, which drives his landlord nuts.

The plot has Carrey being hired by Miami Dolphins marketing director Courteney Cox to track down the team's kidnapped mascot, a trained dolphin whose absence is sure to cause the team to play poorly during the upcoming Super Bowl. (Shouldn't this film have opened a couple of weeks ago?)


Jim Carrey and friends, 'Ace Ventura, Pet Detective' (1994)

Later, quarterback Dan Marino is also kidnapped, but have no fear — Carrey's on the case. And, of course, Carrey and Cox begin an affair, though they seem as ill-matched as any wrong-for-each-other screen couple in the history of film. (But then, who would be right for Carrey's idiot persona?)

Carrey also has regular run-ins with the local police chief, played by Sean Young as a tough-as-nails man-eater.

The desire here is obviously to create a comic character that will be accepted as a ’90s Inspector Clouseau. But there is no cleverness, no intricately choreographed gags, no charm — everything is cheap, sleazy or over the top.


Young and Cox gamely try to support Carrey's madness but wind up looking rather embarrassed. They will no doubt be signing up new agents soon.

As for Carrey's comic style, it's very much from the Jerry Lewis school of throw-in-every-broad-gesture-possible-and-make-fun-of-everything-in-sight. But after a while, the audience may wish he'd just settle down, as his never-ending silliness just gets extremely tiresome.

On the other hand, they'll probably love him in France.

"Ace Ventura" is rated PG-13, which seems awfully tame considering the amount of raunchy humor here, with gags about sex, the male anatomy and any number of vulgar subjects. There is also an abundance of profanity and comic violence.