Sunday, June 7, 2020

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Movie Review)

I just watched this classic for the first time since the movie's release, in 1994. I may have caught bits and pieces of the film on TV re-runs, but haven't seen the full movie from start to finish since at least 1996, or so.

Watching it back at age 32 gave me an opportunity to understand the movie more thoroughly. Before I dive into all of my opinions, a quick note. "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," at just under 90 minutes, is the perfect length.

The plot of the movie back then was confusing for me, because I was 8 years old in 1996. I didn't understand the twists and turns of the story-line, and didn't understand all of the jokes.

What's actually hilarious is that when I was a little kid, in the climax of the movie, when Finkle is revealed to be Einhorn... I thought that Lois Einhorn had crapped her pants and there was a big load in her underwear, which is why it was funny.

As an adult, I realize it's actually because Finkle had just tucked his junk in between his legs and the "load" is actually his man parts. Heck, maybe I'll re-watch this film in my 60's and realize I was wrong back in my 30's as to why this scene is humorous. It's all up for debate.

My other takeaways from the film involve some of the less than kid-friendly humor that's thrown in, and how it's sort of like a rapid-fire collage of scenes. "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" doesn't drag whatsoever. The relationship scenes between Courtney Cox and Jim Carrey are pretty enjoyable. I'd even venture to say the scene where they argue while in poolside lounge chairs is borderline endearing and dare I say, realistic.

Another scene that stuck out for me is when Ace breaks into a Los Angeles apartment complex. There are some shots interspersed that present a cool juxtaposition between a realistic look at life for some (either hard-working, or lazy) American one who likes to relax at his home and watch TV, and the cartoonish and very Hollywood character that is Ace Ventura, who scampers down the apartment complex walkways to eventually interact with this person.

I think the reason why this movie became so popular and such a phenomenon is because of the easy-to-understand, facial-expression-based humor from Ace. The over-the-top slapstick humor appeals to small children who relate to the type of interactions you see on Bugs Bunny, where every gesture is hyper-exaggerated.

The film also appeals to adults, with a somewhat complex detective/mystery subplot, and the macabre look into a disgraced football player who goes mental, and then changes his identity to become a woman in order to plot revenge on... a mega-famous archetype of Americana and pop culture, but also someone who is flawed himself in never having won "The Big Game," ... Mr. Dan Marino.

The writers certainly tossed every idea into the script except for the kitchen sink, and Jim Carrey pulls it all together with his performance.

"Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" combines gags, a light-hearted and easy-to-follow detective story-line and more complex and sort of "scary" elements. It accomplishes a lot in a short amount of time.

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