Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is a 1994 American comedy film starring Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura, an animal detective who is tasked with finding the abducted dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins football team. The film was directed by Tom Shadyac, who wrote the screenplay with Jack Bernstein and Carrey. The film co-stars Courteney Cox, Tone Loc, Sean Young, and then–Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and features a cameo appearance from death metal band Cannibal Corpse.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTom Shadyac
Screenplay by
Story byJack Bernstein
Produced byJames G. Robinson
CinematographyJulio Macat
Edited byDon Zimmerman
Music byIra Newborn
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 4, 1994 (1994-02-04)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$107.2 million[1]

Morgan Creek Productions produced the film on a budget of $15 million, and Warner Bros. released the film in February 1994. It grossed $72.2 million in the United States and Canada and $35 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $107.2 million. It received mixed reviews from critics. Carrey's performance led to the film having a cult following among male adolescents. In addition to launching Carrey's film career, it also started a franchise, spawning the sequel film Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), the animated television series Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1995–2000), and later, standalone made-for-television sequel Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective (2009).



Ace Ventura, an eccentric and offbeat private detective in Miami, is known for rescuing tame or captive animals. Despite struggles with rent and constant mockery from the Miami Police Department, led by Lieutenant Lois Einhorn, Ventura is hired by Melissa Robinson, the Miami Dolphins' publicist, to find their kidnapped mascot, Bottlenose dolphin Snowflake, just weeks before the upcoming Super Bowl.

Investigating the kidnapping, Ventura finds a rare amber stone in Snowflake's tank, leading him to suspect billionaire Ronald Camp, a collector of exotic animals. However, after sneaking into Camp's party and facing a dangerous encounter with a shark, Ventura rules out Camp as the stone in his ring matches the one found but is not missing. Ventura then theorizes that the stone is from a 1984 AFC Championship ring, suggesting a member of the 1984 Dolphins as the culprit, but finds all rings intact.

Roger Podacter, the Dolphins' head of operations, dies mysteriously, and Ventura proves murder. His investigation leads him to Ray Finkle, a disgraced former Dolphins placekicker who missed the potentially game-winning kick in the 1984 Super Bowl and blamed quarterback Dan Marino for it. Ventura also learns that Finkle had been committed for homicidal tendencies shortly after the Dolphins released him following the Super Bowl loss. With Marino's subsequent kidnapping, Ventura suspects Finkle is seeking revenge.

Disguised as a patient at a psychiatric facility, Ventura discovers that Einhorn is actually Finkle, who had altered his appearance and infiltrated the police - under the assumed identity of a missing hiker - for revenge. On the day of the game, Ventura confronts Einhorn at a yacht storage facility, holding Marino and Snowflake hostage. In a dramatic revelation, Ventura exposes Einhorn as Finkle, leading to his arrest after a physical altercation.

The climax unfolds at the Super Bowl's halftime, where Marino and Snowflake are celebrated, and Ventura is hailed as a hero on the jumbotron. The event is capped off by Ventura's scuffle with the Philadelphia Eagles' mascot over a rare pigeon, earning him a standing ovation.





The Chairman and CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, James G. Robinson, in the early 1990s, sought to produce a comedy that would have wide appeal. Gag writer Tom Shadyac pitched a rewrite of the script to Robinson and was hired as director for what was his directorial debut.[2] Filmmakers first approached Rick Moranis to play Ace Ventura, but Moranis declined the role.[3] They then considered casting Judd Nelson or Alan Rickman, and they also considered changing Ace Ventura to be female and casting Whoopi Goldberg as the pet detective. David Alan Grier also turned down to play Ace Ventura.[4] Ultimately Robinson noticed Jim Carrey's performance in the sketch comedy show In Living Color and cast him as Ace Ventura.[5][6] Lauren Holly turned down the role of Melissa Robinson, which eventually went to Courteney Cox.[7]

Carrey helped rewrite the script, and filmmakers allowed him to improvise on set. Carrey said of his approach, "I knew this movie was going to either be something that people really went for, or it was going to ruin me completely. From the beginning of my involvement, I said that the character had to be rock 'n' roll. He had to be the 007 of pet detectives. I wanted to be unstoppably ridiculous, and they let me go wild." He said he sought comedic moments that would be unappealing to some, "I wanted to keep the action unreal and over the top. When it came time to do my reaction to kissing a man, I wanted it to be the biggest, most obnoxious, homophobic reaction ever recorded. It's so ridiculous it can't be taken seriously—even though it guarantees that somebody's going to be offended."[2]

The death metal band Cannibal Corpse performed their song "Hammer Smashed Face" in the film at the request of Jim Carrey, who personally selected the band for the film. Despite scheduling conflicts with a European tour, the band adjusted their commitments to participate in the film. Their appearance in the film significantly increased their visibility, attracting a broader audience beyond their typical fan base.[8]

Filming took place in Miami, Florida in the second quarter of 1993.[9] The film was produced on a budget of $15 million.[1]



The film score was composed by Ira Newborn. The soundtrack, produced by Morgan Creek Records, included a variety of songs by other musicians.

1."Power of Suggestion"Steve Stevens and Perry McCarty4:38
2."All Ace's"Ira Newborn2:41
3."The Lion Sleeps Tonight"Robert John2:35
4."Psychoville - Ace Race"Ira Newborn4:38
5."Theme from Mission: Impossible"Lalo Schifrin0:54
6."Ace of Hearts"Ira Newborn4:04
7."Hammer Smashed Face"Cannibal Corpse4:05
8."Line Up"Aerosmith4:14
9."The Crying Game"Boy George3:21
10."Warehouse"Ira Newborn5:05
11."Finkle & Einhorn"Ira Newborn2:36
12."Ace in the Hole"Ira Newborn1:54
13."Ace Is in the House"Tone Loc and Jim Carrey4:34



Warner Bros. released Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1,750 theaters in the United States and Canada on February 4, 1994. The film grossed $12.1 million on its opening weekend, ranking first at the box office and outperforming other new releases My Father the Hero and I'll Do Anything.[1] Opening-weekend audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A−" on a scale of A to F.[10] For its second weekend, it grossed $9.7 million and ranked first at the box office again,[11] outperforming newcomers The Getaway, Blank Check, and My Girl 2.[1] Variety reported of Ace Ventura's second weekend in box office performance, "The goofball comedy defied dire predictions by trackers, slipping just 20% for a three-day average of $5,075 and $24.6 million in 10 days."[11] The Los Angeles Times reported, "Audiences are responding enthusiastically to Carrey's frenzied antics... [The film] is especially a hit with the 10- to 20-year-old age group it was originally targeted for. Box-office grosses indicate that many fans are going back to see the film again."[2] It grossed $72.2 million in the United States and Canada and $35 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $107.2 million.[1] The film's US box office performance led Variety to label it a "sleeper hit".[12] Its best performance overseas was in Italy.[13] On home video, Ace Ventura sold 4.2 million home videos in its first three weeks, which Los Angeles Times called "just as powerful a draw" as its theatrical run.[14]

Carrey also starred in The Mask and Dumb and Dumber later in the year. The three films had a total box office gross of $550 million, which ranked Carrey as the second highest-grossing box office star in 1994, behind Tom Hanks.[15]

The Hollywood Reporter said before Ace Ventura, Jim Carrey was "seen mainly as TV talent" and that with the film's success, it "firmly [established] him as a big-screen presence". The film's success also led Morgan Creek Productions to produce the 1995 sequel Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls with Carrey reprising his role.[16] Author Victoria Flanagan wrote that Carrey's performance "generated cult success for the film among adolescent male viewers".[17] The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it "gained a loyal cult following through frequent TV airings".[18] NME wrote in retrospect that the film was a "cult 1990s comedy".[19]

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was released on VHS on June 14, 1994, DVD on August 26, 1997, and Blu-ray on September 3, 2013 by Warner Home Video. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray for the 25th Anniversary Edition in April 2019.[20][21]

Critical reception


The Los Angeles Times reported at the time, "Not many critics have been charmed by Ace Ventura's exploits, and several have charged that the film's humor is mean-spirited, needlessly raunchy and homophobic."[2] A biography on Carrey wrote that "the fans loved him and the critics hated him".[9] Ace Ventura: Pet Detective received "generally unfavorable" reviews from contemporary critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic, which assessed 14 reviews and categorized six as negative, five as positive, and three as mixed. It gave the film an overall score of 37 out of 100.[22] The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes assessed a sample of 64 contemporary and retrospective reviews as positive or negative and said 47% of the critics gave positive reviews with an average rating of 4.9/10. In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes wrote of the consensus, "Jim Carrey's twitchy antics and gross-out humor are on full, bombastic display in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which is great news for fans of his particular brand of comedy but likely unsatisfying for anyone else."[23]

Roger Ebert, reviewing for the Chicago Sun-Times, said, "I found the movie a long, unfunny slog through an impenetrable plot." Ebert described the lead role, "Carrey plays Ace as if he's being clocked on an Energy-O-Meter, and paid by the calories expended. He's a hyper goon who likes to screw his mouth into strange shapes while playing variations on the language."[24] Steve Gaydos of Variety praised Carrey's "ceaseless energy and peculiar talents" but reported, "Film sputters and eventually slows to a trot due to the script's inability to give Carrey anything more than a free rein to mug and strut, and a third-act payoff that takes the film's generally inoffensive tastelessness into a particularly brutal and unpleasant stew of homophobia and misogyny."[25] The New York Times film critic Stephen Holden said, "The comic actor Jim Carrey gives one of the most hyperactive performances ever brought to the screen... Only a child could love Mr. Carrey's character, but that may be the point. The movie has the metabolism, logic and attention span of a peevish 6-year-old." He said of Ace Ventura's animals, "The few scenes of Ace communicating with his animals hint at an endearing wackiness that is abruptly undercut by the movie's ridiculous plot."[26]

The Washington Post's film critics Rita Kempley and Desson Howe reviewed the film positively.[27][28] Kempley said, "A riot from start to finish, Carrey's first feature comedy is as cheerfully bawdy as it is idiotically inventive." She added, "A spoof of detective movies, the story touches all the bases."[27] Howe said that the film "is a mindless stretch of nonsense" and highlighted multiple "Carreyisms along the way". Howe concluded, "There are some unfortunate elements that were unnecessary—a big strain of homophobic jokes for one, profane and sexual situations that rule out the kiddie audience for another. But essentially, Ace is an unsophisticated opportunity to laugh at the mischief Carrey's body parts can get up to."[28]

James Berardinelli said, "The comic momentum sputters long before the running time has elapsed." Berardinelli said of Carrey that he "uses his rubber features and goofy personae" that succeeds for a short time but after that, "Carrey's act gradually grows less humorous and more tiresome, and the laughter in the audience seems forced." The critic said the film has "its moments" of humor but considered there to be "a lot of dead screen time" in between.[29]

While Michael MacCambridge of Austin American-Statesman named it as an honorable mention of his list of the best films of 1994,[30] Rocky Mountain News's Rober Denerstein listed it as the second worst of the year.[31]


Award Ceremony Result Notes Ref.
American Comedy Award for Funniest Lead Actor in a Motion Picture 1995 American Comedy Awards Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Male Newcomer, On Video 1st Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Won
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor - Comedy, On Video Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Actor Award Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 1995 Nominated Also nominated for The Mask
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star 15th Golden Raspberry Awards Nominated Also nominated for Dumb and Dumber and The Mask
London Film Critics' Circle Newcomer of the Year Award 1995 London Film Critics' Circle Awards Won Also won for The Mask
MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance 1994 MTV Movie Awards Nominated [32]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor 1995 Kids' Choice Awards Won [33][34]

Transgender portrayal


In the film, the male ex-football player Finkle disguises himself over an extended period of time as the female police lieutenant Einhorn. Based on Ace Ventura's reaction to and outing of Einhorn as Finkle, the film has been criticized for the way it portrays transgender people.[35] New Vistas outlined the negative portrayal, "...the transgender character was the villain of the film and her body/being attracted to her, made characters physically ill. Additionally, the film showed transphobic behaviours by the main character who ridiculed, humiliated, misgendered and exposed the body of the trans female character without her consent."[36]

Alexandra Gonzenbach Perkins wrote in Representing Queer and Transgender Identity that mainstream representation of transgender identity at the turn of the 21st century was limited, observing that "the representations that did exist tended to pathologize transgender people as mentally unstable". Perkins said Ace Ventura, along with The Crying Game, depicted "transgender characters as murderous villains".[37] In the book Reclaiming Genders, in a chapter focusing on transgender identity, Gordene O. Mackenzie references Ace Ventura as an example of turn-of-the-century films that "illustrate the transphobia implicit in many popular US films". Mackenzie describes the scene in which Ace Ventura retches in the bathroom, following the revelation that the woman he had kissed is trans, as "one of the most memorable and blatantly transphobic/homophobic scenes".[38] In The New York Times in 2016, Farhad Manjoo also wrote about this scene, "There was little culturally suspect then about playing gender identity for laughs. Instead, as in many fictional depictions of transgender people in that era, the scene’s prevailing emotion is of nose-holding disgust."[39]



In October 2017, Morgan Creek Entertainment announced plans to reboot several films from its library, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Its president David Robinson said Morgan Creek's plan was not to simply remake the film, but to do a follow-up in which Ace Ventura passes the mantle to a new character, such as a long-lost son or daughter.[40] In 2018, according to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls co-star Tommy Davidson, Carrey displayed a lack of interest in participating.[41]

By March 2021, a sequel film was in development at Amazon Studios with the screenwriters of the 2020 film Sonic the Hedgehog, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, attached.[42]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Crisafulli, Chuck (February 18, 1994). "It's Zany and Aces With Fans: Movies: 'Ace Ventura' with Jim Carrey has taken in $24.6 million, and is still going strong". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Evans, Bradford (14 February 2013). "The Lost Roles of Rick Moranis". Vulture. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  4. ^ O'Connell, Ryan (28 January 2019). "David Alan Grier Talks Dancing With Madonna, Turning Down 'Ace Ventura,' and the One Wack Packer He Wants to Hang With on the Stern Show". Howard Stern. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  5. ^ Mell, Eila (24 January 2015). Casting Might-Have-Beens: A Film by Film Directory of Actors Considered for Roles Given to Others. McFarland. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4766-0976-8.
  6. ^ "25 Years Ago, Jim Carrey Changed Comedy Forever". 28 August 2019.
  7. ^ June 30, Bruce Fretts Updated; EDT, 1995 at 04:00 AM. "Lauren Holly's career picks up". Retrieved 11 March 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Bennett, J (February 10, 2015). "We Interviewed Cannibal Corpse About That One Time They Were in 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective'". Vice. Retrieved May 3, 2024.
  9. ^ a b Krulik, Nancy (2001). Jim Carrey: Fun and Funnier. Gallery Books. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-7434-2219-2.
  10. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  11. ^ a b Klady, Leonard (February 14, 1994). "Weather storms B.O.; 'Ace' detects success". Variety. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Alexander, Max (April 25, 1994). "Robinson to widen Morgan Creek flow". Variety. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  13. ^ Groves, Don (December 11, 1995). "'Ace' holds o'seas B.O. winning hand". Variety.
  14. ^ Cerone, Daniel (July 18, 1994). "He's All Bent Out of Shape Over 'High Strung' Plans". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  15. ^ Willis, Andrew (2004). Film Stars: Hollywood and Beyond. Manchester University Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7190-5645-1.
  16. ^ Galloway, Stephen (May 8, 2017). "Home on the Range". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Flanagan, Victoria (2013). "Transsexualism versus hegemonic masculinity in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". Into the Closet: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Children's Literature and Film. Routledge. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-136-77728-8.
  18. ^ Yuster, Adam (February 4, 2019). "The Stars of 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective': Where Are They Now?". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  19. ^ Reilly, Nick (October 27, 2017). "'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' is being considered for a reboot". NME. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  20. ^ Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Blu-ray, retrieved 2022-05-20
  21. ^ Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Blu-ray (25th Anniversary Edition), retrieved 2022-05-20
  22. ^ "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  24. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 4, 1994). "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  25. ^ Gaydos, Steve (February 7–13, 1994). "Film Reviews: Ace Ventura, Pet Detective". Variety. 40-41.
  26. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 4, 1994). "Reviews/Film; On the Trail Of a Lost Fish". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Kempley, Rita (February 4, 1994). "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Howe, Desson (February 4, 1994). "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  29. ^ Berardinelli, James (1994). "Review: Ace Ventura". Archived from the original on 25 August 2006.
  30. ^ MacCambridge, Michael (December 22, 1994). "it's a LOVE-HATE thing". Austin American-Statesman (Final ed.). p. 38.
  31. ^ Denerstein, Robert (January 1, 1995). "Perhaps It Was Best to Simply Fade to Black". Rocky Mountain News (Final ed.). p. 61A.
  32. ^ "1994 MTV Movie Awards". MTV. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008.
  33. ^ Kleid, Beth (May 22, 1995). "Auctions". Los Angeles Times. p. 2. ProQuest 293201691.
  34. ^ Mangan, Jennifer (June 8, 1995). "Popular Vote". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  35. ^ Siegel, Alan (August 28, 2019). "Comedy in the '90s, Part 2: The Year Jim Carrey Arrived". The Ringer. Retrieved January 6, 2021. ...Ace Ventura's infamous, unequivocally offensive twist. The audience learns late in the movie that antagonist Lois Einhorn, a police lieutenant played by Sean Young, is a transgender woman... The revelation causes Ace, who had kissed Einhorn in an earlier scene, to become violently ill.
  36. ^ Lipińska, Martyna Zuzanna; Stock, Rosemary (2023). "The influence of Hollywood fiction on attitudes towards transgender people". New Vistas. 9 (1). doi:10.36828/newvistas.226.
  37. ^ Perkins, Alexander Gonzenbach (2017). Representing Queer and Transgender Identity: Fluid Bodies in the Hispanic Caribbean and Beyond. Bucknell University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-61148-840-1.
  38. ^ Mackenzie, Gordene O. (2016). "50 Billion Galaxies of Gender: Transgendering the Millennium". In Whittle, Stephen (ed.). Reclaiming Genders: Transsexual Grammars at the Fin de Siecle. Gender Studies: Bloomsbury Academic Collections. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4742-9283-2.
  39. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (June 7, 2016). "In the Fight for Transgender Equality, Winning Hearts and Minds Online". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 26, 2017). "Morgan Creek Prods. Rebrands Itself, Plans TV & Film Reboots Of 'Young Guns', 'Ace Ventura', 'Major League' & More". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  41. ^ Stanton, Leanne Aciz (July 18, 2018). "Jim Carrey 'Doesn't Want' to Do Another 'Ace Ventura' Movie Right Now, Pal Says". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  42. ^ Staff (March 19, 2021). "Spotlight On...Morgan Creek". Park Circus. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021.