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Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey. It co-stars Courteney Cox, Tone Loc, and Sean Young among others. Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino also portrays himself in a major role. This was Carrey's 16th film role.

Plot

Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a Pet Detective, who is employed by people to reunite lost or stolen pets with their owners.

At The Joe Robbie Stadium (now Dolphin Stadium), the mascot of the Miami Dolphins, Snowflake, is kidnapped in the middle of the night, two weeks before the team is due to play the Super Bowl. Mr. Riddle, the team's owner, knows that football players can be superstitious, and therefore believes they will lose the Super Bowl unless Snowflake is returned. He gives his Head of Operations Roger Podacter (Troy Evans) and Chief Publicist Melissa Robinson (Courteney Cox) the deadline of Super Bowl Sunday to find Snowflake, or they will be fired. On the recommendation of the team secretary, Melissa contacts Ace. Ace meets Melissa and Podacter before entering the dolphin tank in search of clues. Ace then searches the filter and finds his first clue: a rare cut orange amber stone.

Ace attends a party of a prime suspect, Ronald Camp, to search a recently purchased tank for snowflake. He finds a large tank full of water, but discovers that it contains a great white shark. On his way out of the party he eyes a ring on Camp's finger and discovers it has stones in it similar to the one he found in the tank. He theorizes that the stone, a rare trianglar-shaped amber piece, had fallen from a 1984 AFC Championship Ring. Ace then tries to find out whose ring is missing a stone by tricking players into showing their rings until his list of suspects is used up.

Melissa and Ace later learn that Roger Podacter is dead. While trying to figure out how Podacter's death is connected to Snowflake's disappearance, Ace learns of a Dolphins' player named Ray Finkle, whom Ace has not investigated. Melissa explains that Ray Finkle was a star kicker who was added to the team after the photograph was taken that Ace has used as a reference. Finkle had missed the potential game-winning field goal kick at the end of the Super Bowl game that year, losing to the San Francisco 49ers. After the season, Finkle received an AFC Championship ring; however his contract was not renewed.

Ace drives down to Finkle's hometown to meet the football player's parents at their home, which is defaced with anti-Finkle graffiti. Finkle's mother is senile, and his father is a suspicious, shotgun-wielding old man who confides to Ace that his son was put into a mental institution after his career ended. Ray Finkle's bedroom contains a shrine-like construction declaring the former resident's hate of Dan Marino, whom he blamed for the missed field goal. Ace realizes that Marino is likely to be in trouble and alerts Melissa to send help, but is unable to prevent the kidnapping.

Ace returns to Miami and lays out Finkle's motive to Lt. Einhorn. The hypothesis is that Finkle kidnapped Snowflake because the dolphin was assigned Finkle's jersey number 5 and taught how to kick a field goal, which Finkle took as an insult.

Searching for Ray Finkle, Ace enters Shady Acres, the mental hospital in Tampa from which Finkle escaped. Ace searches the storage room and finds a box of Finkle's belongings. Looking through it, he finds a newspaper article stating that Lois Einhorn was a missing hiker whose body was never recovered. Ace calls Emilio, who looks through Einhorn's desk, finding a love letter to Einhorn from Podacter. While trying to determine how Finkle and Einhorn were connected, Ace's dog puts his head down on a picture of Finkle, whereupon the dog's hair alters the image of Finkle's head, so that he looks like a woman. Looking at it, Ace realizes that the lieutenant is actually Ray Finkle posing as the deceased Lois Einhorn. Ace starts throwing up and burning clothes because he kissed Einhorn, not knowing he was a man.

Ace follows Einhorn to a warehouse by the docks. After knocking out Einhorn's henchmen, he finds Dan Marino tied up, but is himself caught by Einhorn. When the cops arrive to arrest Ace (on Einhorn's orders), Melissa and Emilio stop them. Ace explains Finkle's motive and that Einhorn is actually Finkle. No one believes him; therefore Ace attempts to find proof by (unsuccessfully) attempting to expose a telltale male feature. He fails but Marino notices male genitalia from his vantage point, and alerts Ace of it. Ace acts on the clue and reveals conclusively that Einhorn is a man. Einhorn makes one last attempt to kill Ace, but is thrown into Snowflake's makeshift tank and exposed as the owner of the ring of the missing stone before being arrested.

Character

The character of Ace was created by screenwriter Jack Bernstein. He had wanted to do a comedic version of Sherlock Holmes, and when watching "stupid pet tricks" on Late Night With David Letterman, got the idea for a pet detective.

Ace possesses extreme vanity, extraordinary powers of observation, and equally great powers of deduction. He has a tendency to use foul language and to make vulgar jokes, as in the scene where he manually moves the halves of his rump to simulate a speaking mouth. He often draws complex, correct conclusions, but does not reveal them until a critical moment. He is sexually promiscuous, talkative, dedicated, and clever.

Reception

In spite of Jim Carrey's nomination for a Razzie for Worst New Star, the movie became a huge box-office success grossing over $72 million at the box office on a $11 million budget and helped boost Carrey's career, thrusting him into the Hollywood limelight and paving the way for several other successful projects in the future such as The Mask and Dumb & Dumber.

Box office

  • Opening weekend U.S. gross: $12,115,105
  • Total U.S. box office gross: $72,217,396.

Cast

Cultural references

  • The Fall of Troy's song "Laces Out Dan!" is a reference to the movie.
  • In Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, the titular character suggests sending a client to Ace after hearing that the case involves strange animals.
  • Metalcore band The Judas Cradle has a song entitled "Laces Out Marino".
  • Grindcore band Tower Of Rome have a song entitled "Does He Have A Name, Or Should I Call Him Lawyer?"
  • In the World of Warcraft dungeon of Upper Black Rock Spire there is a character named Finkle Einhorn, a reference to the character in the movie.
  • Mike Valenti, Detroit sports radio host, said in a small rant about the Detroit Pistons signing Kwame Brown: "Finkle is Einhorn, Einhorn is Finkle", and "I feel like Ace Ventura when he shoves 19 pieces of gum in his mouth.", both references to the movie.

Additional notes

  • A scene in the movie where Spike is jumping around Ace's apartment was used as the original Rally Monkey for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2000. As its popularity grew, Angel Stadium officials got a similar capuchin monkey for new Rally Monkey footage. Spike also appears in the sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and in the cartoon series. The monkey also has a habit of popping into other Carrey films, for instance, the monkey that comes out of the hoodlum's buttocks in Bruce Almighty is the same species and breed as Spike.
  • The idea for the "Ray Finkle" character missing a game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl was inspired by Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood who actually missed a 47-yard game winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV. In the 1984 season the Miami Dolphins actually played in Super Bowl XIX with Dan Marino as their quarterback but they were defeated in a 38–16 rout by the San Francisco 49ers.
  • The movie incorrectly referred to the 1984 Super Bowl as "Super Bowl XVII" instead of the correct "Super Bowl XIX". Coincidently, the Dolphins also played in Super Bowl XVII, but lost to the Washington Redskins, 27-17.
  • Actual members (at the time) of the Miami Dolphins appear during the Isotoner commercial scene, including quarterback Scott Mitchell. The scene features the same gag used in the real life commercials where Marino's teammates (in uniform) pick him up and carry him away.
  • Miami Dolphins kicker Pete Stoyanovich plays the role of Einhorn/Finkle's "kicking" double and does the scene (in a dress, wearing flat dress shoes instead of high heels) where Einhorn/Finkle kicks the football through the hole in the roof.
  • Uwe von Schamann is the player depicted as Ray Finkle in Finkle's parents' game film. While with the Miami Dolphins, he was a member of two Super Bowl teams and was perfect in both of them, not missing an extra point or a field goal in each one. The footage of the missed kick was derived from Super Bowl XIX, wherein the Dolphins lost to the 49ers.
  • Ace Ventura's detective character is a parody of Clint Eastwood's character Dirty Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movies. Carrey, who has appeared in two of Clint Eastwood's movies, spoofed some of Dirty Harry's traits such as his wavy hairstyle, sporty sunglasses, large 1970's sedan, and occasional tough-guy attitude.
  • Jim Carrey opted to put his favorite band, Cannibal Corpse, into the movie; they appear in the scene where Ace goes to meet Woodstock, on stage playing the song "Hammer Smashed Face". However, due to the explicit lyrics in the song, television captions shows then-lead singer Chris Barnes singing "grr!" over and over. The band is also incorrectly listed in the credits as "Cannibal Corpses", and that they are a "thrasher band".
  • In a deleted scene, Jim Carrey is onstage with Cannibal Corpse singing "Hammer Smashed Face", instead of Chris Barnes.
  • When Ace deduces that the murderer is a man disguised as a woman, the song "Crying Game" sung by Boy George begins to play.
  • The name of the mental institution in the film, "Shady Acres", is a play on director Tom Shadyac's surname.
  • In the syndication's version, when Aguado asks how Ace is going to solve the murder of a beetle he squashed, to which Ace replies sarcastically that Aguado killed the insect because he was jealous of its sexual powers, any especially foul language was removed.
  • Ace's catchphrase, "Alrighty then!" was nominated for a position on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes, but failed to appear on the final list.
  • At the end of the film, the mascot of the Philadelphia Eagles, Polly, shoos off the albino pigeon that Ace had been looking to find. However, this was on the Miami Dolphins sideline, even though Polly was on the other side of the field.
  • When being berated by the police, Ace says "I admit I was the second gunman"; this is a reference to the conspiracy theory that there was a second gunman in the John F. Kennedy assassination.
  • When Ace is investigating the crime scene of where Snowflake, the Dolphin's mascot, was kidnapped from, he hops into its tank and begins a monologue, pretending to be Captain Kirk of Star Trek, starting with a Star trek reminiscent sound and saying "Captain's Log, Star Date".
  • One scene was filmed at Villa Vizcaya.

TV Version

When aired in syndication, several scenes are either edited, or completely removed. To make up for this, several deleted scenes are added, such as:

  • Ace pretending to be the dolphin trainer.
  • A short scene where Ace asks for directions to the pigskin sports bar, followed by a scene at the pigskin sports bar where Ace finds out where Finkle's parents live.
  • Ace calls Emilio from the mental hospital, followed by a scene where Ace drops Melissa off at home.
  • Ace visits his hippie friend again, followed by a scene where he gets up on stage with Cannibal Corpse.
  • A short scene of Melissa being blamed for Marino's disappearance.
  • Snowflake gets hold of Einhorn's gun.

References

External links

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