Ace Ventura: Pet Detective shouldn't really be as funny as it is. It's random, head scratching and just deeply juvenile, and happens to be one of the funniest films ever made. Why? Jim Carrey. The man is spun gold on camera, and he sells every outlandish minute of this gonzo Looney Toons goofball of a flick. It really wouldn't work without him. I mean, could you imagine, say, Dustin Hoffman, or John Travolta trying to pull of this kind of malarkey? OK, I did just laugh really hard picturing that, so it would be funny, but only in an embarrassing way. No, it had to be Carrey, and he's an engine of unbridled comic mania the entire way through. One acting technique involves basing your performance off of the mannerisms of an animal, and I've heard that he chose a cockatoo as the blueprint for Ace. The head bobs, squirrelly movements and that epic, instantly recognizable ocean crest of a hairdo. Makes sense, and I couldn't unsee it after hearing that. Ace is probably the most eccentric, beloved character Carrey has ever fashioned, and for good reason. He's like a cannon loaded with jokes, quips, pop culture references, personal space invading antics, a complete lack of inhibitions, a treasure trove of rubber faced muckery and a deep love for any and all creatures of the animal kingdom. Those are pretty much all of the qualities one should look for in a human being. I say that now, but I feel like after spending ten minutes with the guy I'd look for the nearest exit. Ace is on the case, when he's not goofing off, which is always. Somehow he finds time to search for the missing mascot of the Miami Dolphins, an actual dolphin named Snowflake. The story dimly unfolds in the background of all his tomfoolery, and includes Dan Marino, a suspicious billionaire (Udo Kier, whose exasperation at Carrey's behaviour looks very un-faked), and an ice queen of a Police Chief played by Sean Young, with an arc that goes to some pretty disturbing places for this kind of light fare. He also finds time to have hot jungle love with Courtney Cox, and speak to people through his asshole like a deranged Muppet, among many other things that will have you questioning why you're watching it, only to realize it's like your twentieth viewing and you have no plans to ever stop. It's Carrey's show, and he takes it into orbit, never letting the mania subside for a nanosecond. He's borderline certifiable, which comes in handy when he has to infiltrate a mental facility, because the guy halfway to belonging there anyway. There's just so many cherished little moments, mannerisms and scenes that don't ever get old, for those of us that love this character. Carrey shaped the landscape of comedy a lot during this portion of his career, and the mile markers that he released stand tall and undiminished to this day, bringing hilarity to all. The sequel is genius too, and one of those rare follow ups that is just as solid as the first.
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