tek's rating:

Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective (PG)
IMDb; Morgan Creek; Rotten Tomatoes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

This is a direct-to-DVD sequel to the Ace Ventura movies which starred Jim Carrey, who isn't in this one. I saw this on Cartoon Network (though it's live-action). It aired a couple of days before being released on DVD. As for my rating... actually it may not deserve more than half a smiley, but whatever, it's... not terrible. But parts of it could be pretty lame.

Um... well, you know, in the original movies, Jim Carrey played Ace Ventura, a pet detective. Which you could figure out just from the title. He was a seriously goofy weirdo, who personally I found pretty annoying most of the time, if I recall. But he could also be funny, and this became one of his best-known roles, very popular. In this movie, his character is not seen because he had disappeared while on a case, but he left behind a wife and son, who is now 12 years old, and never knew his father, apparently. Ace Jr. is just as interested in helping animals as his dad ever was, though. And he's kind of weird. His mom would like him to be normal, because she doesn't want to end up losing him, like she lost his dad. So she never tells him anything about his father.

However, Ace starts investigating the disappearance of a bunch of pets of various classmates, including the mascot of the school's swim team, an alligator named Chompy. Another missing pet is a koi named Green, who belongs to a girl named Laura, on whom Ace has a major crush. He doesn't make much headway in his investigations, but then a baby panda named Ting Tang gets stolen from the zoo where his mother, Melissa, works (a job she took just so Ace could be around animals without getting into trouble, though that didn't work out). And Melissa gets blamed for the panda-napping, and arrested, by a guy named Hollander, who works for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, I guess. So, of course Ace now focuses on trying to prove his mother innocent, by finding out who really stole Ting Tang.

Meanwhile, with his mother in jail, someone has to look after him. That someone is his grandfather, who tells him about the history of the Ventura clan, and their connection to animals. And eventually Melissa gives Ace a key to a chest in the attic, which contains clothes like the ones his father used to wear. I should say that... well I mentioned Ace was always kind of weird, and earlier in the movie this weird thing started happening with his hair (spontaneously forming itself into the ridiculous 'do that his father and grandfather both sported). But once he starts wearing the clothes, he seems to finally accept himself for who he truly is. He's always been goofy in much the same way as his dad (in a pale imitation of Jim Carrey's character). While there's much about Carrey's character that I never found funny, it's even less funny in his son... though to an extent it may just be because he's a kid acting weird, which is just naturally less funny than a grown man acting weird, I guess. Whatever, now that Ace Jr. has embraced his true nature, he's more confident, acts sort of cooler and funnier than before, as well as even goofier and weirder.

But anyway. Even before this change, he'd gained a couple of allies in Laura (who likes him in spite of thinking he's weird) and a nerd called A-plus (who's excited to have friends for the first time ever). They both helped him in his investigation of Ting Tang as well as a number of famous animals that had been disappearing recently. Their search eventually led them to a rather unlikely ally. Eventually the case gets solved, in spite of all of Ace's weirdness, and Hollander constantly disbelieving him, the authorities trying to stop Ace and his friends. In the end, the real culprit turns out to be... kind of predictable, actually. Yeah, after the movie was over, I totally retroactively predicted it. And it also tied into the case of the missing pets of Ace's classmates.

And I dunno what else to say. There are those who will say the movie sucks with or without comparison to the first two, theatrical movies. There will be those who say it especially sucks compared to those movies. Then there's me, who says it's not as good as the first (and presumably the second, which as I mentioned, I hadn't seen as of this writing), but the suckiness is basically in the fact that it tries so much to be like those movies. And kind of succeeds. Because even if the first movie was funny, it was also stupid and Ace Ventura is just a weird and annoying character. With occasional hints of offbeat coolness. Sort of. I guess. And, you know... like father, like son. *shrug*

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Ace Ventura franchise
Pet Detective * When Nature Calls * animated series * Ace Ventura Jr.