Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and this week, it’s the most unnecessary sequel since Caddyshack IV: Oblivion.
ACE VENTURA : PET DETECTIVE JR. (2009)
Starring: Existential dread.
If you’re anywhere near my age, then you probably remember when Ace Ventura: Pet Detective hit theaters, and how it led to 7th graders across the nation upgrading their playground Fire Marshall Bill impressions into full-fledged Ace Ventura riffs that were only slightly less funny than the end of Old Yeller by fall. Looking back, I can pinpoint the class (third period Social Studies) where I came to the conclusion that if I never heard another pre-teen drop an “alllllllll righty then,” it’d be too soon.
And then someone had to go and spend more money than I’ve ever seen to make that very thing happen.
And now you know why I drink so much.
It pretty much goes without saying that this movie is terrible and nothing in it makes any sense, but for the sake of argument, here’s the phenomenally stupid plot: Sometime after the events of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, the eponymous pet detective got married to an unsuspecting young lady and infested her with his pompadoured, cliché-spouting seed, only to then go and get lost in the Bermuda Triangle in what appears to be the most elaborate scheme to become a deadbeat dad since Superman Returns. I have to say, though: the fact that the filmmakers had Ace Sr. missing and presumed dead rather than just outright killed off speaks to a truly amazing level of optimism on their part. It leaves the door open for a sequel where father and son are reunited, and that can only happen if Jim Carrey not only forgets that he pulls down millions of dollars but also develops a drug habit that can only be satisfied by snorting ground-up blood diamonds.
Anyway, at twelve years old, Ace Jr. is dealing with an uncontrollable desire to find missing pets, which comes in handy when his mother (a zookeeper) is arrested for stealing an endangered panda. Thus, Junior is left in the care of his grandfather, and if you thought it was sad when a twelve year-old did an Ace Ventura impression, wait’ll you see an old man do it.
Gramps informs Junior that his desire to track down lost animals (along with the haircut, puns and crippled fashion sense) is actually a birth defect passed down from one generation of Venturas to the next. This is illustrated with a chart showing that we are all inevitably evolving into Jim Carrey…
…which is the kind of glimpse of the future that drives men to create doomsday weapons.
Eventually Junior embraces his heritage and solves a mystery, using information that shows up an hour into a 90-minute movie to pin the rare animal thefts on the father of his rich classmate, who – as he has absolutely no other reason to be in the film – is pretty much the villain by default.
As though the plot’s overwhelming stupidity even by the standards of “kid-friendly” sequels (which are usually incredibly insulting to their audience) wasn’t awful enough, everything else about the movie is pretty awful too. To be fair – something I rarely like to do in this column – Josh Flitter actually isn’t that bad an actor, especially given how insufferable a character Ace Junior actually is. It’s not like this is a role that doesn’t require scenery-chewing, and amazingly, he’s better than a lot of actors I see in my weekly tour of the one-star section.
Unfortunately for him, though, there’s only so much you can polish a turd, and everyone involved in writing and directing this thing decided making a character that was remotely sympathetic or in any way not annoying was a tertiary concern at best. Even before he becomes a pint-sized Carrey impersonator (which is when the awfulness gets cranked up to 11), his lines are still obnoxiously trite and devoid of personality. Instead, they just point a camera at him while he acts out a half-hour plot padded to 90 minutes with the addition of jokes rejected by the writers of Epic Movie.
Seriously, the writing is atrocious. Not only are fart noises overdubbed whenever they felt like a scene needed punching up (as though there weren’t enough in the movie already), there’s a stale jokes referencing the OJ trial, a truly crazy dig at health care reform, and the phrase “don’t taze me, bro!,” which was apparently so funny that the writers felt they had to include it twice.
The weirdest bit, though? They actually got Tone Loc’s song from the original Ace Ventura soundtrack. Guys, I’m pretty sure for an extra five bucks, you could’ve gotten Tone Loc himself.
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|