STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: Approx 175 Minutes
· Theatrical Trailer (both films)
· TV Spots (both films)
· Bonus Disc with three episodes of the Ace Ventura Animated Series

The Pitch

Part 1: “Did you watch In Living Color last night? Yeah me too. We need to give that white guy a shot.”

Part 2: “Man that Ace Ventura movie made a fuckton of cash – let’s make another one!”

The Cartoon: “Let’s piss all over any goodwill this property has left!”

"Hey Bub, my eyes aren’t located on my chest! But my GIANT VAGINA is!"

The Humans

Part 1: Jim Carrey, Courtney Cox, Sean Young, Ton Loc

Part 2: Jim Carrey, Tommy Davidson, Ian McNeice, Simon Callow, Sophie Okonedo

The Cartoon: Michael Hall, D. G. Beatty

The Nutshell

Ace Ventura makes funny faces, even funnier voices, talks out of his ass, drives like a maniac, makes out with Courtney Cox, Sean Young AND Sophie Okonedo, beats up an eagle mascot, wears a tutu, crawls naked out of a robotic rhino‘s ass and still manages to rescue a puppy, a dolphin, Dan Marino, an albino bat and an entire aboriginal tribe.

"So, as you can see – I got the eyebrow, the sideburns, the fancy hair and even the loud shirt. That Johnson prick stole it all from me. So – you think I have a case?"

The Lowdown

DISC 1 – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Even though Jim Carrey got his start as “Fire Marshall Bill” (among other characters) on FOX’s In Living Color and got his “big break” as the titular character in The Mask, it was his turn as pet dick Ace Ventura that made him a superstar and a household name. The movie exploded into the mainstream, becoming a ubiquitous pop-culture phenomenon whose quotability, in my opinion, was only recently surpassed by the likes of Austin Powers, Napoleon Dynamite and Chappelle’s Rick James sketch.

And, unlike the new kings of pop-culture, even though it was a film that’s mostly remembered for its quotes and sight-gags, it was also a well-made, multi-layered, smart piece of comedy filmmaking (and I say that as a man who really likes both Napoleon Dynamite and Chappelle‘s Rick James bit, but also as a man who knows that both of those things are pretty much just a collection of quotes and visual jokes and don’t really offer anything more than what‘s on the surface).

When animals attack your scrotum!
Try not to think about this next time you let your balls dangle in an unfamiliar toilet.

I think the thing I like most about it is that even though the script is almost saturated with the standard catch-phrases and schtick that everyone remembers, Ace, as a character, was very well established as an actual detective – and a damn good one. The various steps he took in order to save both Snowflake and Dan Marino were very well-orchestrated and believable and because there was an actual story progression underneath all the silliness it made for a well-rounded movie that to this day remains an infinitely charming viewing experience. Which brings us to…

DISC 2 – Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Typically, sequels are empty, soulless shells of their parent movies, only made to exploit a popular property and squeeze out a few extra dollars. Obviously there are exceptions, but unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.

Nature is a sequel that decided to take only two things from the original: The character (in name only) and the catch-phrases. It’s all too apparent that the script was written with the jokes as priority one and the story was molded to fit in with the predetermined bits. Basically, they kept everything that made the first so memorable, but forgot everything that made it so good.

That Hollow Man is really into some weird shit.

It becomes painfully obvious as early as the opening sequence, which finds Ace in the mountains, trying to rescue a raccoon that had been thrown from a crashed airplane. Rather than pack the raccoon safely in his rather large backpack, he straps the animal into a rock-climber’s harness, which subsequently malfunctions, sending the furry fellow to painful death below. And it hits you – even though he was perpetually silly in the first movie, he was intelligent, and, as an animal-lover, he would have never put an animal in that sort of dangerous situation. The writers effectively jettisoned an established (and important) character trait for an over-elaborate visual gag.

And it goes on from there – Ace is no longer an intuitive detective. He no longer finds clues, but rather stumbles upon them coincidentally when the threadbare plot needs a little bit of a push (and the fact that he only “finds” roughly two pieces of evidence in the entire movie should tell you something). He’s become a sort of bumbling, accidental hero who spends the entire running time using the same lines, jokes and gags from the first film, but doubling (and sometimes tripling) the usage. And that doesn’t even take into consideration that some of the best bits from the first film aren’t even tied to the “Ace Schtick,” but are just random bits of hilarity. Nothing in this film felt random, or even natural within the scope of things. It all felt way too forced. That’s not to say it was a BAD film, in and of itself, but as a sequel to one of the funniest movies of that year, it came up embarrassingly short.

Before he was discovered by the Brothers Wayans, Carrey was forced to do some aspokesman work for Viper.

The Package

In the art department, there’s a slipcase housing three slimline amaray cases. The outer sleeve features an original, if not clunky picture of Ace displaying his business card. It’s busy and loud and sort of obnoxious, but then again so is Ace – so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Each of the slimlines feature a different variation on the picture, either in layout or color, and even though it does sort of fit a theme, it seems to waste a LOT of real estate, especially considering what some other sets do with that space.

Feature-wise, there’s a theatrical trailer and some tv spots for each of the 2 movies and a third Bonus disc that offers three episodes of the Ace Ventura Animated Series. I don’t have the energy or the inclination to try and review each episode individually, so I won’t. What I will say is that whatever charm the character had left after Nature was completely excised with these 22-minute long animated abortions. It looks like every other cartoon, sounds like every other cartoon and, well, sucks like every other cartoon shown on ABC on Saturday mornings at this time. I’m not sure how long this series ran, but I’m very thankful they only included three episodes. Hell, unless you’re a die-hard completionist, you won’t miss a thing if you just turned this disc into a coaster and kept the two films on your shelf, with or without the box.

Faster than lightning - scarier too!
Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to let H.R. Geiger to the production design for the Flipper reboot.

In the end, I’ll give the distributor credit for putting together a decently sturdy set, but I would have much rather seen a stacked edition of the first film instead of this box.

OVERALL 7.0 out of 10