Find Mr. Knish all over again.
Ace Ventura returns for a double-dip that is actually worth picking up. While not flush with special features, the films receive new digital transfers, a touch-up to the sound mix and some convenient slimcase packaging. Plus, it’s super-cheap. So if you’ve been hankering to grab these Jim Carrey classics, here’s your chance. It’s a decent set.
That’s your nutshell review. Here is the padding:
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
In the role that catapulted Jim Carrey to top shelf Hollywood status, Ace Ventura is hired to track down the mascot of the Miami Dolphins, which has been mysteriously kidnapped. Ace’s investigation leads him to a criminal with a long-time grudge who haws it in for the Dolphins and their star quarterback (Dan Marino at the time). Along the way, Ace wrestles a shark and knocks boots with Courtney Cox.
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
The 1995 sequel has Ace journeying to Africa, brought in to locate a missing white bat. The bat is a cherished tribal symbol and its disappearance threatens to spark a land war. But Ace thinks that the plot is stinkier than just boilerplate tribal warfare, and his intuition envelops him in a fertilizer conspiracy. This time out, Ace is smacked around by tribal warriors, harassed by an alligator and birthed by a fake rhino.
These are funny movies and have aged well with time. It struck me as I watched Pet Detective how Carrey’s fate could have gone the other way so easily. The film is stupid and even director Tom Shadyac, who delivers a nice commentary on the DVD, admits as much.
Still, Carrey was able to find the right mix of stupidity and obnoxiousness to make his iconic character work, thus launching him to $20 million paydays. Butt-talking aside, ultimately, what made the film successful was that it was funny. There are gut laughs to be had here, and those go a long, long way.
I remember seeing When Nature Calls in the theater and laughing deliriously. That may have been because I was with Matt Deibler, a friend from college who had the loudest, most infectious laugh ever, but rewatching now has soothed my conscience — Steve Oedekerk’s follow-up is very amusing. I could do without the tired “raped-by-a-gorilla” bit that peaked in Trading Places.
The highlights of this release are the video transfers. They are very good; When Nature Calls in particular looks terrific. Colors are strong and detailing is very sharp with very little dirt or grain. For audio, the only thing notable is Pet Detective’s remastered 5.1 track.
The lack of extras is stark, however. Shadyac’s commentary is nice to have, but that’s it. I just hope Warner Brothers isn’t brewing up a triple-dip. There is a third disc, but instead of bonus items you’re stuck with three episodes from the animated Ace Ventura series that no one cares about.