The Comedy Vault – Ace Ventura.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)/Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)

These are some more American comedy films, and I have decided to make this a two for the price of one piece. Firstly, the Ace Ventura films are significant because they helped to propel the career of comic actor Jim Carrey to the next level, suddenly he seemed to be everywhere, and was one of the biggest names on the film comedy scene.

And looking back, it wasn’t that much of a surprise really, because his quick-moving and energetic performances amused a lot of people. Ace Ventura styled himself as The Pet Detective (and indeed the only person to be such a thing), and he liked to wear rather horrible shirts too. He thinks that he can communicate with animals, and help to solve all their problems.

In the first film, he goes on the search for the missing Miami Dolphins mascot. Is there chaos along the way? Well I suppose there is. Also among the cast was Courteney Cox, soon to star in Friends. I remember there being a lot of buzz around this film, and one critic said that this was “bladder burstingly funny”, which is just rather alarming really.

Ace Ventura quickly became popular enough for there to be a spin-off cartoon series, along with the other Carrey films The Mask and Dumb And Dumber (which was my favourite of the three), although they were all fun, and this showed how well his style had gone down with younger viewers. It seemed rather inevitable that there would be a sequel to all this, hopefully the newly bankable Carrey could fit it into his rather busy schedule.

Ace Ventura did indeed return a year later in When Nature Calls. This time he was in Africa, doing anything that he could to help out the jungle animals, whilst making daft faces and shoving things up his nose, and going to any length to get a laugh. They probably end up being more worried than they were before he turned up to supposedly solve their mysteries.

There were a few familiar faces among the cast of this one too, including Ian McNeice, who is better known nowadays for appearing in lots of episodes of comedy-drama series Doc Martin. Again, this was all fairly well-received, but the idea would go no further, although there have been recent rumours that Ace might yet return. The DVD boxset that I have is rather light on extras though.

More TV Memories – Dumb And Dumber.

Dumb And Dumber (ABC, 1995-1996)

This is a review of yet another 90s cartoon. In the mid-90s, Jim Carrey became a big success as a comic actor, and not one or two but three of his films were turned into cartoons. They were Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb And Dumber. All of these launched in 1995, and it was odd seeing three different versions of Carrey’s characters, put together by three different teams, and voiced by three different people.

I do remember watching all three of them to some extent, but I thought that I would pick out just one to review, and it may not be that much of a surprise to realise that it was the silliest of them. Dumb And Dumber was a cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera that continued the adventures of Lloyd (played in the film by Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels), and it picked up where the film left off as they travelled around the country in their dog-shaped van. vlcsnap-00459

The only other regular was their pet beaver Kitty, who seemed to be smarter than the pair of them. Not too surprisingly, most episodes consisted of Lloyd and Harry doing some rather dumb things, often leading to them saying “well I’ll be a gorilla’s nephew”. How will they get out of this one! Some episodes featured one story, and some had two or even three. When watching a few episodes again recently, it did remind me a little of the cartoon Two Stupid Dogs (that I reviewed recently), but if it was with people… instead of dogs. vlcsnap-00458

There were also a lot of rather silly sound effects (all the usual ones, but they never get old), and among the cast providing voices were Tom Kenny and Jeff Bennett, before they went off to further success with SpongeBob SquarePants and Johnny Bravo among many others. This all amounted to a rather silly show, but it might’ve been a little too silly for some viewers, as it only lasted for one series and 13 episodes. vlcsnap-00488

Ace Ventura and The Mask fared a little better though, both lasting for three series. They were both shown on CBBC, but Dumb And Dumber was another one that was shown as part of Channel 4’s weekend morning strand, I remember that I set the video as it was shown rather early, and I felt that it was a good decision because I was rather rewarded as some of the stories made me laugh. vlcsnap-00496

As far as I know, there hasn’t been a DVD release, but the story didn’t end with the cartoon. About a decade after, there was the prequel Dumb And Dumberer (great title), which showed how the young Lloyd and Harry met each other, and this was followed about another decade later by the sequel Dumb And Dumber To, where Carrey and Daniels reunited and got back in their van for even more silly adventures.