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.