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Film Review: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
In 1994, Tom Shadyac released Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Starring Jim Carrey, Courtney Cox, Sean Young, Tone Loc, Dan Marino, and the members of Cannibal Corpse, the film grossed $107.2 million at the box office.
A modern-day Sherlock Holmes mixed with Tarzan and Doctor Dolittle, Ace is a pet detective hired to find Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins’ mascot that was kidnapped. As his case unfolds, he finds himself wrapped in a mystery that started when the Dolphins lost a prior Super Bowl by one point and a bad kick.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is one of those films that, due to all of its goofiness and silliness, doesn’t seem like it would amount to much. Behind it all though is a film that has some pretty great characters with an amusingly somewhat intelligent plot that really doesn’t take itself all that seriously.
Despite all the gags, jokes and stupidity that show up, this film is actually pretty smart and most of it lies within the Character of Ace. Sure, his crazy personality could be attributed to some mental disorders, such as episodes of acute mania or schizophrenia a well as being quite eccentric. Yet, that doesn’t stop him from being very knowledgeable about animals and how to handle them. He’s also got a lot of investigative skills, seen in how he walks onto a crime scene and within the span of a few minutes, finds a spot of blood the other police didn’t see and figured out that the victim couldn’t have been heard with the window closed. He’s also pretty decent at fighting and can fool a guy into thinking he’s a package delivery guy all the while stealing the dog he’s been sent to track down.
On the other hand, there’s Finkle, vowing death on a man because of how a football was held, which he blames as the cause for him missing a field goal. Granted, his mother’s not quite all there either and that the reaction from fans could have really just pushed him over the edge. Nevertheless, Finkle is interesting in that he just won’t let things go and assumes the identity of a woman just to screw over the Miami Dolphins and get revenge on a ridiculously mild offense.
As the film progresses, Ace discovers all of this in a way that shows his intellect and ability as a detective which are seen when he finds a small little stone and connects it with the championship rings. Through this, he manages to track all the old players of that year down to check the rings. Then he goes after Finkle actually using some detective work, like talking to his parents and getting information from his storage box at the mental institution. It makes a halfway decent attempt to give the film some semblance of detective work.
As a whole, this film really doesn’t take itself too seriously as it's purely a comedic experience that has a lot of gags and silliness. However, it doesn’t use them as a crutch and some of the best comedic moments from the film are when the plot itself is being driven forward. There’s when he’s looking at all the rings, for instance. He can’t seem to run fast enough to keep pace with one of players, so he chloroforms him and then checks the ring. For other players, he sits and waits in a mailbox, gets himself punched in the face and gets himself mistaken for a gay man, with none of them feeling like a forced inclusion. There's also the scene where he does a hilarious long gag where he’s demonstrating that a murder victim couldn’t have been heard with the sliding glass door being closed, opening and closing it about six times all while yelling the loudest he can. He didn’t need to do it for as long as he did and, as far as anyone else is concerned, the only reason he did so was for his own amusement.
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ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
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Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
- Favorite Actor - Comedy, On Video (JIm Carrey)
- Favorite Male Newcomer, On Video (Jim Carrey)
Kids' Choice Blimp Awards
- Favorite Movie Actor (Jim Carrey)
London Critics Circle Film Awards
- Newcomer of the Year (Jim Carrey)
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
- Most Promising Actor (Jim Carrey)
Kids' Choice Blimp Awards
- Favorite Movie
MVT Movie Awards
- Best Comedic Performance (Jim Carrey)
- Worst New Star (Jim Carrey)