Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Review

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Ace is an unorthodox private detective in that he specialises in looking for animals. When the dolphin mascot of the Miami football team disappears just before the Superbowl, Ace is called in to track down the thief.


A surprisingly massive hit at the US box office, this private detective spoof marks the feature debut of American comedian Jim Carrey whose act, on this evidence at least, seems to consist solely of facial contortions, manic mannerisms and rubber-limbed goofyness. As Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, Carrey is a latterday Doctor Dolittle by way of Naked Gun's Lt. Drebin, an animal sniffer-outer who specialises in returning pets to their owners.

The plot is almost absurdly funny — almost. When Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins' mascot, is kidnapped a fortnight before the side's Superbowl appearance, Ace is called in by flaky Dolphins executive Melissa (Cox) to track the mammal down. Ace deduces that the kidnapper must be a Dolphins player, eventually narrowing his search down to Ray Finkle, a former Miami kicker who lost his side the championship at the '84 Superbowl, and won himself a trip to the loony bin.

Carrey gags his way through proceedings like a poor man's Jerry Lewis, stooping so low as to talk out of his rectum (honest) in his pursuit of a laugh. There's one good Crying Game gag and a number of minor moments of mirth, but nowhere near enough to sustain a 90-minute movie. American football fans might go all wobbly at the sight of quarterback Dan Marino and sundry other real-life Dolphins in bit parts, but most folk over school-age will just gape open-mouthed at the inanity of it all.

Neither terrible, boring nor soporific, just not very funny.