1994 was the year of Jim Carrey. He became the first comedic actor to have three number 1 hit movies in a year: Dumb and Dumber, The Mask and Ace Ventura. Dumb and Dumber is funnier as a whole, and The Mask is just a more coherent movie-watching experience, but Ace Ventura is really Carrey at his madcap, face-flexing, ass cheek-spreading best. Its his quintessential role, one that really doesn’t even involve any plot or substance so much as just characters and situations for him to find himself in from time to time.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective does have a plot though and it’s a pretty intriguing and original one. The Miami Dolphins mascot, a dolphin, gets stolen and its up to Ace Ventura, a manic and goofy pet private eye to bring the animal back to the team. To be honest, we really don’t care about any of this as its just areas where Carrey can goof off, dance around, manipulate his face into previously-unthought of positions, and just have a ball.
Thrown in-between Carrey’s shenanigans is a harrowing tale about a kicker who missed a Super Bowl-winning field goal, with said kicker adopting the identity of a woman and then assuming control of the Miami police. This is an odd plot to watch, especially in today’s more LGBT aware and accepting environment. I can’t imagine any comedy being released today where a group of police officers vomit in unison after discovering a woman actually has men genitalia. But hey, this is 1994, where anything goes!
But Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is really a time vessel into that mid-90s period where fart jokes and crude humor were at their peak, where every kid was obsessed with Beavis and Butthead rather than Rick and Morty. I found the humor to be a bit stale this time around, and that is probably because I’ve gotten older, anyone from the ages of 5-15 would think this stuff is genius. But if anything, I’ve grown fonder of Carrey’s outright commitment to his performance. He quite literally goes all in on this with nothing holding him back. Ace Ventura isn’t a great movie, but Carrey achieves greatness in it.