PG-13 Dir: Tom Shadyac | Sony | 1h 26min
Plot: What’s it about?
Yes, believe it or not it’s twenty-five years since that phrase worked its way into our pop culture. When Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was released, my first thought was “Oh, the white guy from In Living Color.” And that was about it. I mean, really, a movie about a pet detective. Are you kidding? The guy looks like a cartoon character. And I almost felt sorry for Carrey doing a movie like this. But after all the attention it received, I rented it when it came out (on VHS, no less). I don’t exactly remember the day, but I remember that I had to pause the movie several times because I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. You might say that the movie struck a chord with me and the rest, as they say, is history. The movie is stupid, with paper thin characters, semi-good acting (Dan Marino didn’t quit has day job until several years later) and a pretty insane plot. But that’s what makes this movie work – check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride.
For what it’s worth, here’s the plot: Snowflake, the mascot for the Miami Dolphins, has been kidnapped and after exhausting all of their resources, Melissa Robinson (a pre-Friends Courtney Cox) decides to enlist the help of a pet detective: Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey). Ventura, eccentric to say the least, has some rather unorthodox methods of doing his job. He’s uncovered a stone from a football championship ring and is systematically trying to find which ex-player wants with Snowflake. Running interference is police Lt. Lois Einhorn (Sean Young). Ace and Melissa are on the trail of the crooks and only time will tell if they have what it takes to rescue Snowflake Just in time for the Super Bowl (the Dolphins in the Super Bowl, that might have been the best joke of all)!
Bear in mind you’re watching a film in which the main character literally talks out of his ass. But this was more of a vehicle for Jim Carrey to showcase his unique physical talent as opposed to his acting, but whatever the case – it worked. This launched Jim Carrey to international superstardom and even a quarter of a century later, he’s still near the top of his game. The casting of Courtney Cox couldn’t have been better either. She landed the role in Friends later that Fall (though I’m not sure if it was as a result of this movie) and we all know how that turned out. If you’re one of the few that hasn’t seen this, it’s fun and even kid-friendly at points. Carrey is hit or miss with some folks, so if you like him, you’ll love it and if not then he’s got a pretty diverse slew of movies out there.
Video: How’s it look?
Way back when, this movie was released to the DVD format in a full-frame format. Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve had to make that life-changing choice between a a full screen movie and one in its original aspect ratio. Those days are now long gone. And so too is the full-frame format of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Switching studios from Warner to Sony, the 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer does look a lot better than my old, antiquated copy. Colors are bold and bright (the film does take place in Miami), detail has been improved as has the contrast. Seeing stars like Courtney Cox and Jim Carrey a quarter of a century ago gives the film a bit of age, but that’s neither here nor there. What I can say is that this is perhaps the best the film has looked on a home video format, but there’s still some wiggle room if they wanted to do a new 4K restoration. I’d buy it.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments, but it’s a pretty average track all around. Vocals are pure and crisp, Tone Loc’s deep, grizzled voice takes the cake as the character with the most “unique” vocal attribute. The front stage is pretty active while the surrounds chime in to lend some much needed ambiance during a few key sequences. Comedies aren’t (and don’t) really set the standard for audio on films and this one serves its purpose. No real complaints here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Unfortunately, this isn’t a new track. It’s the same one that’s been with the movie since the DVD days. But for those who are interested, give it a listen as it’s got a few amusing anecdotes in the mix.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
Jim Carrey’s made a name for himself over the past quarter of a century and this is the film that started it all. Yes, we may (finally) be past the days of “Allllrighty then” and “Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”, but I have to admit that Carrey’s made me and countless others, laugh. Sony’s “Anniversary Edition” (and I use that term lightly) offers some decent audio and video, but recycles the same supplements from Warner’s edition. If you don’t already own it, it’s a good addition to your collection – otherwise I’d pass.