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1 item from 1994

'Ace Ventura'

31 January 1994 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

With his roving eyes, overactive mouth, less-than-extraordinary gifts of mimicry and goofy way of moving rhythmically, comic Jim Carrey looks like he's having a swell time in his first starring role. Too bad the movie, "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", is as much fun to watch as cleaning up after a dog in the park.

Fans of Carrey's "In Living Color" characters Fire Marshall Bill and Vera De Milo will give the Warner Bros. release whatever opening weekend treats it can beg from the marketplace.

But even with a pro football angle, plenty of cuddly animals, smirky in-jokes about movies and such unlikely co-stars as Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and Sean Young, the comedy will be straying out of theaters faster than Emmitt Smith with the ball and an open path to the goal.

Equal parts Ernest and Max Headroom, Ace Ventura (Carrey) lives in a Florida apartment with a menagerie of fowls and furry creatures, drives an aging muscle car with reckless abandon, out-thinks crooks and cops and makes love with woman-pleasing endurance. The plot, such as it is, concerns Ace's taking on the case of a dolphin-napping in the weeks before the Miami Dolphins are to play in the Super Bowl.

First the dolphin mascot, then quarterback Marino is nabbed, and team marketing director Melissa (Courteney Cox) gets nowhere with local police forces headed by hard-nosed Einhorn (Young). But with the help of lame ''Jaws, '' ''The Crying Game'' and ''The Silence of the Lambs'' shticks, Ventura unearths the truth -- something to do with a missed field goal and a former player who obsessively hates Marino.

Relying on juvenile anti-gay jokes, cartoonish misogyny, a belligerent talking anus routine and the 10-millionth ''Star Trek'' spoof for its biggest laughs, the film's screenplay is negligible. Co-writer Carrey and director/co-writer Tom Shadyac took original writer Jack Bernstein's pet detective script and made it their own.

First-time director Shadyac relies entirely on Carrey's persona and presence to make the material work. Any time the plot calls for routine cinematic exposition, the film barely wags its tail. Marino and the entire football angle are laughable in none of the ways intended.


Warner Bros.

James G. Robinson Presents

A Morgan Creek Production

Director Tom Shadyac

Producer James G. Robinson

Screenplay Jack Bernstein, Tom Shadyac, Jim Carrey

Story Jack Bernstein

Executive producer Gary Barber

Director of photography Julio Macat

Production designer William Elliott

Editor Don Zimmerman

Music Ira Newborn

Casting Mary Jo Slater



Ace Ventura Jim Carrey

Melissa Courteney Cox

Einhorn Sean Young

Emilio Tone Loc

Dan Marino Dan Marino

Riddle Noble Willingham

Running time -- 81 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13

(c) The Hollywood Reporter


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