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‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 04, 1994

 


Director:
Tom Shadyac
Cast:
Jim Carrey;
Sean Young;
Courteney Cox;
Tone Loc;
Dan Marino
PG-13
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent


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You know Jim Carrey. Sure you do. He was one of the aliens in "Earth Girls Are Easy." As body builder Vera De Milo and other bizarre characters, he twists, shuffles and contorts his way through TV's "In Living Color." Perhaps you've seen him in the "Duck Factory" series, or Showtime's "Jim Carrey's Unnatural Act."

Maybe you've caught his hilarious, often-rerun guest appearance in "Sesame Street," in which he demonstrates with quintessential gyrations just how happy or sad his feet can get. "What a strange man," says a Muppet character as Carrey exits.

Yes, he's a strange man, but a wonderful, strange man. Actually, it's probably better to think of him as an experiment in rubber, a Gumby with a match lit under him. Carrey is restlessness defined. You get tired watching him. You get tired laughing at him.

Make no mistake: "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," Carrey's movie-starring debut, is a mindless stretch of nonsense. The plot, as such, involves Miami-based animal-tracer Carrey's search for a missing dolphin -- the mascot to the Miami Dolphins football team. It includes lamely scripted appearances from Sean Young, as Carrey's tight-lipped lieutenant; Courteney Cox, as his gratuitous love interest; Tone Loc, as his gratuitous friend; and quarterback Dan Marino, coach Don Shula and a huddle of other Miami Dolphins as gratuitous cameos.

Sniffing out (often literally) the dolphin, Carrey uncovers a criminal trail that leads all the way to -- who cares? What matters are the Carreyisms along the way. Some highlights:

• Frustrated at buddy Tone Loc's reluctance to show him some vital records, Carrey appeals to him by turning around, bending over and making his buttocks appear to talk. (Don't worry: He keeps his pants on.)

• Dressed in a tutu (don't ask), Carrey does a parody of a grimacing athlete caught in slow motion, then shows the same action in reverse.

• In an obligatory passionate love scene between Carrey and Cox, the detective's vast coterie of pets (parrots, squirrels, etc.) make chirrupy fun of the human couple as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" plays over the soundtrack.

• Attemping to hide at one point, he tries to fold himself into a small cardboard box -- and almost succeeds.

There are some unfortunate elements that were unnecessary -- a big strain of homophobic jokes for one, profane and sexual situations that rule out the kiddie audience for another. But essentially, "Ace" is an unsophisticated opportunity to laugh at the mischief Carrey's body parts can get up to. Treat this project as you would a safari: It has its slow parts but the wildlife makes it worthwhile. With eyes bulging, neck extended and legs Elvis-Presleying all over the place, Carrey is one funny animal.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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