20 Years of ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE
Editor’s Note: In celebration of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’s release 20 years ago on this very day, Screen Invasion writer Andrea Fischer revisited the film to see if it holds up.
For a period of time in the 90s, Jim Carrey was everywhere. From The Cable Guy to Man on the Moon, his films received mostly mediocre reviews while his celebrity snowballed into something absurd, luminous, and highly sought-after, because it couldn’t be denied: Even if Carrey’s movies were a flop, he was a comedic genius.
That was exactly the point of many of Carrey’s 90s films, though: Being so over-the-top ridiculous reviewers had no choice but to turn their noses up. Think: Harry and Lloyd suited up in neon tuxes in Dumb & Dumber, or that manic mutant-colored superhero in The Mask.
Think: The outrageously goofy, bouffant-boasting Ace Ventura, a low-rent pet detective who ends up on the hunt for Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins’ missing mascot, and team member Dan Marino.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Ace, a man who communes better with animals than he seemingly ever will with humans, and who knocks hazardously around town all day in his dumpy car with a broken windshield. Close your eyes for a second and recall him: Ace is like a big rubber band, isn’t he, thin and knobby-kneed and bouncing around everywhere like a child without his Ritalin?
Owen Gleiberman, in Entertainment Weekly, said of the film, “Carrey suggests an escaped mental patient impersonating a game-show host.” The New York Times said Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is meant for the mind of a six year old. And though we all have friends who would rather never see films like Ace or Dumb & Dumber again, are those really the kind of friends we want?
I firmly believe Ace Ventura would never be made in 2014. It represents an oddly innocent balance not often found these days: A film that walks the line between silly and vulgar perfectly, with no need for excessive nudity, drug usage, cursing, or violence. You just have a goofy man in a goofy role who sometimes wears a tutu.
As Ace would say, a “LOO-HOOO-ZUH-HER!”
The kind you can’t help but love.