An eccentric pet detective is called on to locate a missing sacred animal to stop the war between two African tribes.
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Peoples, this is choice viewing! Ace Ventura is an eccentric pet detective, with a wave-flick hairdo and electric stripy pants, who’ll go to any lengths to find a lost animal. The film opens with Ace scaling an epic mountain, trying to rescue a ledge stranded raccoon. However, the raccoon’s tiny fingers slip from Ace’s grip and it plummets to its death. Suffering a mental breakdown, Ace takes refuge in a Buddhist temple, finding spiritual enlightenment.
One day, Fulton Greenwall comes to seek Ace’s help in retrieving a lost sacred animal. Greenwall explains that the daughter of the Wachati chief and the first born son of the Wachootoo tribe are to wed, and that the sacred animal is the dowry. The animal’s absence is an “insult” and “curse” to the savage Wachootoos and, should it not be found, they swear to slaughter the Wachati. Ace is reluctant to go but the monks, sick of his bizarre antics, insist that he is now “one” and can go. Ace agrees and leaves to the backdrop of wild partying monks.
Greenwall takes Ace to the consulate in Nabia to meet Consul General Cadby. Cadby, though taken aback by Ace’s outlandish personality, is impressed when Ace deduces his recent trip to Northern Africa from the plaster stain on his shoe. Cadby introduces them to Burton Quinn – the powerful Quinnland Safari Park owner with a pet raven, Tinky. Cadby sends Ace off to find the sacred animal but not before showing him his large room of mounted animals. Ace, disturbed, leaves with Greenwall for the Wachati village. On the way, Greenwall reveals that the sacred animal is a great white bat. Ace, a bat-a-phobe, freaks out! However, he recalls his oath to help all animal life and continues.
Arriving, Ace meets the Chief who, grateful for Ace’s guarantee to find the bat, spits in his face. Wanting to reciprocate, Ace hocks up all the snot he has and explodes it all over him. They all leave the hut gooey and laughing maniacally. That night, the Wachatis hold a night dance where Ace falls for the virgin princess. He also eats guano – bat droppings – and Greenwall informs him that guano is the Wachatis’ main resource. Ace slips away from the party to investigate the bat’s sacred cage, finding a raven feather. Later, Ace visits the sacred guano filled caves and finds another raven feather. Suspecting Quinn, Ace the next day spies him giving a bribe to a notorious hunter and captures him. Using his own particular brand of torture – scraping a knife and fork on a plate and pushing his eyeball in with his finger – he cracks Quinn who cries that he did try to steal the bat but it was already gone.
On his journey back through the jungle, Ace is shot with several poisonous darts and collapses. The Wachati identify the darts as the Wachootoo’s and Ace and the Chief’s son, Ouda, go undercover to the Wachootoos. They are quickly apprehended and Ace is given the chance to live – if he passes all Wachootoo tests! Ace victors them all – again, in his own peculiar style – until his ultimate test – fighting the savage first born son. The son brutally beats him and finally throws a spear to kill Ace. However, the spear lodges in Ace’s thigh, causing Ace to scream and whimper pathetically and the Chief and Wachootoos begin to laugh. Ace calls on Ouda to throw him a spear, which he does, and it lodges into his other thigh. This causes further cries from Ace and sends the Wachootoos into mad hysterics. The Chief stops the fight, calling Ace “friend”, and releases him, but not before warning him of the Wachati’s imminent slaughter next noon and shooting him in the ass with a dart.
Ace deduces, from comparing the darts, that the Wachootoo did not first shoot him. Examining the dart’s wood, he locates the hut of the real culprits – two poaches, Mick Katie and Gahjii. Inside the hut he spies the bat. Suddenly, the poaches appear, strap Ace to a raft and send him over a waterfall. Surviving, Ace meditates on why someone would use poachers to cause the war. Enlightened, he knows the valuable incentive: guano.
Ace storms down to the consulate and confronts Cadby that the white stain on his shoe was not plaster but guano. Cadby confesses and admits that he hired Ace to be the proof that he had done all he could to prevent the war. Ace sends a stampede of animals to destroy the consulate but Cadby grabs the bat and drives away into the jungle. Ace follows … in a monster truck! Cadby crashes, wedging the cage into a tree, and runs away into the jungle (where he is later raped by a gorilla). Ace, noticing the noon sun, reaches into the broken cage and, disgustedly, grabs the bat. He races through the jungle, holding it above his head, and runs between the two weapon-drawn tribes. Ace quickly throws the bat back into its sacred cage and wipes his hands on his pants, grossed out.
Ending happily ever after, Ace stays to watch the princess marry the Wachootoo son. The newlyweds enter a hut to consummate their marriage and Ace cries. However, tears soon turn to more tears when the Wachootoo son emerges, crying that the princess is not a virgin! Ace, now the culprit, runs as both tribes, together, chase after him.
I’d argue that this movie has formed people’s impressions of Jim Carrey. He is in his element. As Ace Ventura, Carrey is free to let his comedy genius loose and do whatever the hell he feels like! Physically, he gives everything, doing anything that comes naturally to him – the crazy movements, the dancing, the crazy facial expressions, the singing, the different voices! Everything! Jim Carrey is Ace Ventura and Ace Ventura is Jim Carrey!
This movie is just blow after blow of slapstick comedy – every part is entertaining and every part deserves a laugh. The most memorable scenes are ‘The Monopoly Guy’ scene and the ‘Rhino gives birth to a man’ scene. Ace, confronted with a female fur lover, punches her partner – a man who likes like the Monopoly guy – and parades around with him on his shoulders. At the end, he shakes the unconscious man, saying, “Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars”. Similarly memorable, Ace gets trapped inside a robotic rhino under the hot African sun. Naked, he burrows his way out of the rhino’s behind. A passing family on safari stop to witness the ‘birth’ of a baby rino but instead watch as Ace, sweaty and growling, falls out. I sincerely believe Carrey has created his own genre of comedy here – just natural, crazy comedy!
Ace Ventura When Nature Calls