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Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective
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by brianorndorf

"They finally messed with the 'do!"
1 stars

It’s been a treat to watch the 1994 underdog “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” grow from a critical open sore to something resembling a slapstick classic. Along with its deliriously madcap 1995 sequel, “When Nature Calls,” the Ace franchise has developed into a beloved comedic institution, due in great part to Jim Carrey’s fluid, berserk work as the titular animal sleuth. Imagine the ecstasy of a third “Ace Ventura” movie, with the promise of Carrey returning to his career-making role after a 14-year-long absence spent trying to sell himself as a serious actor, ready to slap on the bouffant and spastic mannerisms to conquer the world all over again. Viva la Carrey!

Would you settle for Josh Flitter instead?

Trying to understand his obsession with animal behavior, Ace Ventura Jr. (Josh Flitter, “Nancy Drew”) keeps busy terrorizing his mother Melissa (Ann Cusack, improbably taking over for Courtney Cox) at a local zoo. When a rash of animal kidnappings tear across the Orlando, Florida region, Ace finds himself drawn to investigate, poring through crime scenes and junior high witnesses to nab the culprit. With the help of his grandfather (Ralph Waite), nerd A-Plus (Austin Rogers), and crush Laura (Emma Lockhart), Ace assumes his destiny as a pet detective, using his wits and destructive improv ability to examine clues and save his mother, who’s facing a lengthy prison term after being framed for the crimes.

An “Ace Ventura” sequel without Jim Carrey is peanut butter without the jelly. It doesn’t take a pipe-and-sportcoated film historian to recognize the quality of such a needless endeavor is going to remain frighteningly low, yet “Ace 3” manages to trump even those horrid expectations with its determined lack of ingenuity or even elementary comedic competence. This is a terrible motion picture, scraping the bottom of the barrel out of sheer laziness while the previous two pictures challenged the audience with a broad parade of farcical eccentricity and brazen displays of comic mischief. The earlier installments were certainly obnoxious, but they swung for the fences; the movies pushed the boundaries of inspired wackiness, led by Carrey’s insatiable appetite for elastic PG-13 madness. Handing the role over to a pudgy, thick-tongued 14-year-old kid doesn’t make any sense.

While Flitter is bursting with New Jersey energy, his Carrey mimicry leaves much to be desired. “Ace 3” is far too dependent on Flitter’s fixation with his punchlines, as director David Mickey Evans rests a majority of the humor on the youngster’s shoulders, assuming Carrey callbacks and flatulence jokes are enough to fill a 90 minute family film. With a raspy delivery and stubby physical appearance, Flitter is a total failure as the second coming of Ace, with every last one of his lines dropping out of his mouth with all the grace of an anvil. Granted, “Ace 3” is aimed toward the forgiving elementary school set, with the film showcasing lunchroom antics, state-of-the-art gummy worm tracking systems, a conceited teen villain (Reed Alexander, in a pleasing performance of effeminate terror), a Heelys-influenced action sequence, and advanced iPod technology to keep the target demo involved. But even that isn’t enough to suffer through this sorry excuse for low-budget, cash-in absurdity that trades agreeable clowning for lethargic anal-blast pandering.

While I certainly enjoyed the film’s use of the Universal Orlando theme parks as a backdrop to much of the story (it lends the film a sliver of personality it doesn’t otherwise own), the rest of “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.” is a loathsome, exceedingly unfunny continuation of a once rewarding film series. Case in point: the movie trots out the moldy “don’t tase me, bro!” line twice for jesting punctuation. Twice. Keep in mind the feature is credited to four writers, and there’s a glimpse of the hell that awaits.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18521&reviewer=404
originally posted: 02/28/09 01:01:12
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User Comments

3/12/09 Brandon Allin Why was this movie even made? 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  N/A (PG)
  DVD: 03-Mar-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A
  DVD: 03-Mar-2009




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