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Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls Review

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Pet detective Ace Ventura comes out of retirement to investigate the disappearance of a rare white bat, the symbol of an African tribe.

★★★★★

In 1994, a movie based on the unlikely premise that a pet detective could scrape a decent living in the world of big business, burst onto the scene to unprecented box office, paving the way to eight-figure salaries and world domination for a little-known comedian by the name of Jim Carrey. The inevitable sequel took $40 million in its opening US weekend and while Ace Ventura is still not the best way to utilise Carrey’s talents, this follow-up kept Carreymania on the boil.

      Set in Afica (although filmed in America), this kicks off with a brilliant lampoon of Cliffhanger involbing Carrey and a cute racoon. Sadly nothing that follows is quite as inspired - the grief-stricken Ace retreats to a Tibetan monaster, only to be summoned by British emissary Fulton Greenwall to help prevent a tribal war by rescuing a stolen sacred white bat. And that’s about it really, with minimal plot taking a back seat to the wild face-pulling antics of our hero as he journeys to Africa, japes about with the two opposing tribes, and attempts to crack the case in his own inimitable style.



      As expected the gags come faster than the man’s bank balance accumulates, the consequence being that too many fall flat, too often. And all but the most devoted fans of Carrey’s elastic phizog will find his frenzied display of mugging wears thin way too soon. However, it is saved by some preposterously silly set-pieces (in particular, one which proves just how much fun you can have with bunny shapes and a slide projector and, ahem, a rhino giving birth to the bequiffed hero) that prove to be so childishly ridiculous you’d have to be made of stone not to find yourself giggling.



      Ace may not be as pant-soilingly hysterical as Dumb and Dumber, and the character hasn’t The Mask’s dazzling charm, but there’s enough lowbrow entertainment here to entertain.

Low-brow humour but it's vintage Carrey.

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