DVD Review: Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective (2009)

All-Righty Then!

Ace Jr. Didn't Fall Far From the Tree
& He Lands on DVD

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The Original Pet Detective

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We've had James Bond Jr. and The Son of Pink Panther as well as Steve Martin's apparent complete misunderstanding that anyone in the world finds his rendition of The Pink Panther funny and now unfortunately-- joining the ranks of recycled characters-- we're saddled with Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective.

To be fair, I was never the greatest fan of the original and felt that although Carrey had his hilarious moments, he was more consistently funny in later films and thought more than anything-- perhaps a junior spin-off would actually make sense being that the live-action cartoon nature of Carrey's Pet Detetive was always aimed at twelve year olds anyway.

So, it wasn't all too surprising that for the junior version, we catch up with the now deceased Ace's son Ace Jr. (Josh Flitter) at age twelve-- precisely at the same age wherein the original films of Carrey's (including his other work such as Dumb and Dumber and The Mask) would most likely hit the target. And while the otherwise likable Nancy Drew and Horton Hears a Who! star Flitter tries his hardest and manages to succeed in a courtroom scene seemingly inspired by Liar, Liar, you just know that his major direction was probably to watch Carrey's films nonstop prior to filming as well as hang with him as often as he could if they were in the same room together during Horton.

Operating on what can only be described as a super sugar high or Red Bull binge-- Flitter mugs nonstop in Carrey's bigger is better approach as his young character sets out to clear his mother's name when the hardworking zoo worker (played by Ann Cusack, filling in for Courtney Cox in the role Cox originated) is arrested on what appears to be extraordinarily flimsy evidence that she kidnapped a panda.

Meanwhile, Jr. finds himself becoming quite the mini workaholic-- in classic Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe fashion-- taking on countless other cases at the same time, wondering if there's some sort of pet-napping epidemic (as evidenced below).

"Must Try to Be Normal."

Amazingly, although it comes directly from those responsible for the original films courtesy of Warner Brothers Studios and Morgan Creek for its straight-to-disc release and shockingly utilized the talents of four screenwriters (never a good sign), ultimately it retains little of the magic of the first save for a few requisite one-liners and Ace's trademark warped hair that looks as though Elvis Presley had found himself using a windshield wiper instead of a comb.

Moreover, filling the film with endless jokes that fall flat and a predictable over-reliance on toilet humor and gross-out gags including a final case-solving technique that finds Ace trying to rescue a fish from being digested by an alligator in a stomach turning moment, it's an ultimately forgettable work that isn't among Warner's best for children and nowhere near the level of director David Mickey Evans' far superior film, The Sandlot. Skip it and move onto the next one-- "all-righty then."