Warner Bros. // 2009 // 93 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 5th, 2009
Like father like son.
Apparently, the Ace Ventura franchise still has legs. Short, stubby little legs.
Ace Ventura Jr. (Josh Flitter) is following in the footsteps of his father. He loves animals, cultivating a talent for investigating pet thefts and returning the animals to their owners. He hasn't quite mastered the talking out of the butt thing, thankfully. Widely considered a nerd among his peers, Ace attempts to carve out a name for himself by solving the biggest animal caper he's ever encountered: the kidnapping of a rare Chinese panda from the local zoo. Worse, his mother has been arrested for the crime.
Since no one else is willing to perform the rudimentary police work which would promptly exonerate Ace's mom, he recruits the school nerd and the Cute Girl to untangle the mystery -- and, in the process, transforms himself into a smaller, stockier version of his dad, Hawaiian shirt, pompadour, and all.
First things first: I think kids will like this movie. There's plenty of animal tomfoolery -- always big seller for the younger crowd -- adults getting kicked in the balls, precocious pre-adolescent mouthing off to their superiors, and a handful of farting scenes. Josh Flitter should especially have the kids in stitches. This kid belts out his lines with gusto, wisely avoiding a straight-up aping of Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura character. Me, I couldn't take the little guy's schtick.
When the film started, I was okay with the kid's personality but around the time he snags the "Ace" gear, Junior turns into a mini-tornado of irritation. You ever talk to a kid who isn't nearly as funny as he thinks he is, but still persists with his routine? That's Ace Ventura Jr. Again, as a 31-year-old, I want to place kick the runt, but for the target audience, there's laughter to be had. Which is kind of a shame because there was some charm to be had before Ace turned into an annoyance. As a self-deprecating, awkward kid, he's sympathetic and his sarcastic barbs have more punch.
But enough of my cynicism. No, I wouldn't watch this movie again. Yes, the kid got on my nerves. For a low-impact, PG-rated romp with animals, flatulence, and a chase scene with kids wearing those shoes with the wheels in their heels as they evade zookeepers and a secret laboratory accessible only through a locker, and an eco-terrorist intent on saving ugly endangered species, your easily-amused offspring should get a kick out of it.
Plus, we learn the fate of the original Ace Ventura, who -- SPOILER WARNING -- apparently disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, saving Warner Bros. a fortune by not having to show Jim Carrey's likeness.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen is solid, as is the 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix. A nice selection of extras: extended scenes, a gag reel, a faux documentary, and a selection of making-of featurettes spotlighting the animals, the kids, goofing around on the set, even more animals, and (finally) Ox the dog.
We're spared the Carrey mannerisms, but his spiritual successor still manages to find new and creative ways to annoy. Whatever. Your kids will eat this up.
Guilty, but who the @#$% cares what I think?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Extended Scenes
* Gag Reel