As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gone back and watched a lot of movies that I enjoyed when I was a youngin’ and I’ve found a couple of things to be true. Movies that I overall enjoyed (ET, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, etc.) hold up well today and remain some of my favorite films. On the other hand, movies that I enjoyed as a kid because they sparked a particular emotion, i.e. they were scary, funny or sad, I’ve found do not hold up well over time. ACE VENTURA came out when I was in junior high and at the time, it was comedy gold. Other than maybe WAYNE’S WORLD, I can’t think of a movie that I quoted more. However, a lot has changed since I first saw Ace Ventura grace the big screen and some of his antics just aren’t funny anymore.
That’s not to say the film isn’t still funny, it’s just not nearly as funny as it once was. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that Jim Carrey is an A-list superstar now and his mug is plastered everywhere. We’re used to his facial expressions, so when he does his quick-glance-and-glare, it doesn’t make you laugh anymore. Like the movie that made him famous, Carrey is still funny, just not as much so.
For those of you that haven’t seen it, Jim Carrey stars as Ace Ventura: pet detective. When the dolphin mascot for the Miami Dolphins gets pet-napped, Ace gets called in to investigate. His investigation gets even more serious when people start winding up dead or missing. Of course, it’s hard to take anything seriously when Ace is walking around with that haircut, but they at least try to throw in a story and a point to the movie. But the filmmakers know that no one cares about Dan Marino or the dolphin; the audience is there to see Jim Carrey act crazy and make people laugh. At the time, that was all Jim Carrey knew how to do.
Even today, I find Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura to be a really funny character. No, watching him talk out his ass (literally) isn’t funny anymore, but watching him kick the UPS package in the beginning with that look on his face still had me laughing out loud. Likewise, the scenes in the apartment and the mental facility were still funny, while the dinner party and ending were only mildly amusing. At the end of the day, if you weren’t a fan of Jim Carrey in his ‘In Living Color’ days, you’re not going to appreciate this.
It’s hard to review a film you’ve seen so many times. Even nowadays, I still feel like I can mouth every line Carrey speaks in the film. So stepping back and attempting to judge the film subjectively is difficult 25 years after it was popular. With that in mind, I still find ACE VENTURA to be an enjoyable film and amusing enough to keep it interesting, even if all of Carrey’s antics don’t hold up.