Monday, July 30, 2007

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; Comedy, USA, 1994; D: Tom Shadyac, S: Jim Carrey, Courteney Cox, Sean Young, Troy Evans, Dan Marino, Udo Kier

Ace Ventura is a sleazy pet detective specialized in tracking down lost animals. His newest case is to find Snowflake, a dolphin and a mascot of the football team Miami Dolphins, that was abducted by someone. As he gets close with Miami Dolphins assistant Melissa, Ace finds a clue - a tiny jewel that fell from someones ring. It turns out Lt. Louis Einhorn is behind the kidnapping - namely, before her surgery, she was a man, Ray Finkle, who played for the Dolphins but was replaced by someone else. Ace stops her and saves the dolphin.

Tom Shadyac's directorial film debut "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" is a simple and wacky comedy that some regard as a riot just because it's non-stop over-the-top, while others denounce it as a dated and annoying feature. Still, the movie became a hit and was Jim Carrey's breakthrough role, after 11 years of unnoticed career. Unfortunately, Jim Carrey established his comic performance based on two problematic elements: grimaces and over-the-top/overkill interaction: indeed, some of his humor is hilarious, like in the scene where he is in the police precinct and laughs while almost not moving his lips at all, but since he acts like a caricature all the time the thing soon becomes old and irritating. If he played his role seriously for at least 50 % of the time, the other half of his over-the-top performance would have some kind of sense, but this way it seems he is acting like a little dumb kid - who could say that Carrey's grimaces have something more profound than lets say the grimaces of Jim Varney or Pauly Shore? The plot is thin, author's style almost non-existent, the tone childish (in one scene Ace catches a bullet shot at him with his mouth - a joke that was already used a 1.00 times) but at least some of the gags are good: in one of them, Ace is about to investigate the pool and says to Melissa and the coach: "If I'm not back in 5 minutes...just wait longer". Here and there a few genuine sympathies show up, but Carrey's performance is at times so embarrassing, it's hard to sit through the whole film.


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