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Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey. It co-stars Courteney Cox, Tone Loc, and Sean Young among others. Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino also portrays himself in a major role. Though this was Carrey's 14th film role, it is considered to be the one that launched his successful film career.


Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a self-styled "Pet Detective" from Miami, Floridamarker, who is employed by people to reunite lost or stolen pets with their owners. While his methods seem to work, he does not often get work and is behind on his rent, in addition to being a laughingstock at the Miami-Dade Police Department.

At Joe Robbie Stadium (now LandShark Stadiummarker), the mascot of the Miami Dolphins, Snowflake the bottlenose dolphin, is kidnapped in the middle of the night, two weeks before the team is due to play in the Super Bowl. Mr. Riddle, the team's owner, knows that football players can be superstitious, and therefore believes they will lose the Super Bowl unless Snowflake is returned. He gives his Head of Operations Roger Podacter (Troy Evans) and Chief Publicist Melissa Robinson (Courteney Cox-Arquette) the deadline of Super Bowl Sunday to find Snowflake, or they will be fired. On the recommendation of the team secretary, who had used Ace to find her lost dog, Melissa contacts the pet detective while he is tracking a lost albino pigeon with a $25,000 reward for its return. Ace meets Melissa and Podacter before entering the dolphin tank in search of clues. Ace then searches the filter and finds his first clue: a rare cut orange amber stone.

Ace attends a party of a prime suspect, billionaire and rare fish collector Ronald Camp, to search for a tank that Camp recently purchased, which he suspects was intended for Snowflake. He finds the large tank full of water, but discovers that it instead contains a great white shark and is nearly eaten by the shark. On his way out of the party he eyes a ring on Camp's finger and discovers it has stones in it similar to the one he found in the tank. He theorizes that the stone, a rare triangular-shaped amber piece, had fallen from a 1984 AFC Championship Ring (Camp being a fan and large contributor to the Dolphins). Ace then tries to find out whose ring is missing a stone by tricking players into showing their rings until his list of suspects is used up.

Melissa and Ace later learn that Roger Podacter is dead, Miami Police Lt. Lois Einhorn believes it was suicide, but Ace proves that it was murder. While trying to figure out how Podacter's death is connected to Snowflake's disappearance, Ace learns of a former Dolphins' player named Ray Finkle, whom Ace has not investigated. Melissa explains that Ray Finkle was a star kicker who was added to the team mid-season, whereas the photograph that Ace has used as a reference was taken earlier in the year. Finkle had missed the potential game-winning field goal kick at the end of the Super Bowl game that year, losing to the San Francisco 49ers. After the season, Finkle's contract was not renewed and his reputation was destroyed.

Ace drives down to Finkle's hometown in Collier County, Floridamarker to meet the football player's parents at their home, which is defaced with anti-Finkle graffiti written by irate fans over the years. Finkle's mother is senile, and his father is a suspicious, shotgun-wielding old man who confides to Ace that his son was put into a mental institution in Tampamarker after his career ended; Finkle later escaped from the institution and is still at large. Finkle's bedroom contains a shrine-like construction declaring his extreme hatred of Dan Marino, whom he blamed for the missed field goal due to mishandling the snap. Ace realizes that Marino is likely to be in trouble and alerts Melissa to send help, but Marino is kidnapped before she can respond.

Ace returns to the Miami Police Department and lays out Finkle's motive to Lt. Lois Einhorn (Sean Young). The hypothesis is that Finkle kidnapped Snowflake because the dolphin was assigned Finkle's jersey number 5 and taught how to kick a field goal, which Finkle took as an insult, and that he kidnapped Marino to keep him from playing in the Super Bowl, hurting the Dolphins' chances of winning. Einhorn, who previously despised Ace, kisses him and tells him that her department will now handle the rest of the investigation.

Searching for Ray Finkle, Ace enters Shady Acres, the institution from which Finkle escaped, disguised as a mental patient. Ace searches the storage room and finds a box of Finkle's belongings. Looking through it, he finds more anti-Marino paraphernalia as well as a newspaper article stating that Lois Einhorn was a missing hiker whose body was never recovered. Ace calls his friend and police officer Emilio, who looks through Einhorn's desk, finding a love letter to Einhorn from Roger Podacter, evidence that Einhorn might have killed Podacter. While trying to determine how Finkle and Einhorn were connected, Ace's dog puts his head down on a picture of Finkle, whereupon the dog's hair alters the image of Finkle's head, so that he looks like a woman. Looking at it, Ace concludes that the lieutenant is actually Ray Finkle posing as the deceased Lois Einhorn. His sense of triumph is quickly replaced with disgust after realizing that he had kissed and almost had sex with a man.

Ace follows Einhorn to a warehouse by the docks. After knocking out Einhorn's henchmen, he finds Dan Marino tied up, but is himself caught by Einhorn. When the cops arrive to arrest Ace (on Einhorn's orders), Melissa and Emilio stop them. Ace explains Finkle's motive and that Einhorn is actually Finkle. No one believes him; therefore Ace attempts to find proof by (unsuccessfully) attempting to expose Einhorn's true identity. He first tries to pull off her hair, believing it to be a wig, only to find it's her real hair. He then rips open her shirt only to find two perfect feminine breasts. He then decides to rip off her skirt because he thinks that she must still have her penis, but there is no bulge. Suddenly Marino who is slightly behind Einhorn calls Ace over and whispers something. As it turns out Einhorn had learned to tuck her penis and testicles between her legs to hide them, which Podacter discovered earlier while engaging in sexual activities with Einhorn, but was murdered before he told anyone and the motive behind his murder. Ace turns Einhorn around to expose her true identity (with the penis and testicles clearly visible underneath Einhorn/Finkle's silk panties), every man except Ace started spitting to in disgust (even Snowflake). Einhorn/Finkle makes one last attempt to kill Ace with a piece of jagged glass, but is flipped by Ace into Snowflake's makeshift tank. Ace removes Ray Finkle's Championship ring from Einhorn/Finkle's finger, who is helped out of the water and arrested.

The movie ends with both Marino and Snowflake returning to the Super Bowl game between the Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime. Ace suddenly spots the albino pigeon he was chasing earlier in the film on the Eagles' sideline. He attempts to capture it but Swoop, the Eagles' mascot, scares it away. Enraged, Ace ends up in a fist fight with the mascot whilst he is thanked, on the JumboTron, for saving Marino and Snowflake.


Box office

Ace Ventura did very well at the Box office, grossing $5,286,023 in 1445 theaters on the first week. When it stopped showing in theaters in the US, the total gross was $159,537,178. It then went on to make $253,147,774 in other countries. The total Box office gross worldwide was $412,684,952.


Ace Ventura: Pet Detective received mostly positive reviews. It holds a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was much more popular, however, with the general public, making back over six times its budget at the U.S. box office and embedding itself, the Ventura character and his catch-phrases in pop culture. Along with The Mask and Dumb and Dumber, the film is widely credited with launching the career of star Jim Carrey, who won the 1994 MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance. The film's popularity spawned a 1995 sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, with Carrey returning in the lead and a second sequel, Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective, in which Josh Flitter takes over the lead.

TV version

When aired in syndication, several scenes are either edited, or completely removed. To make up for this, several deleted scenes are added, such as, Ace posing as the official dolphin trainer to the press.

The following were not included in the DVD:
  • A short scene where Ace asks for directions to the pigskin sports bar, followed by a scene at the pigskin sports bar where Ace finds out where Finkle's parents live
  • Ace calls Emilio from the mental hospital, followed by a scene where Ace drops Melissa off at home
  • Ace visits his hippie friend again, followed by a scene where he gets up on stage with Cannibal Corpse
  • A short scene of Melissa being blamed for Marino's disappearance
  • Snowflake getting hold of Einhorn's gun

Cultural references

  • Ray Finkle's missed kick is loosely based on Scott Norwood's missed game winner in Super Bowl XXV. In reality, the 49ers defeated Miami easily in Super Bowl XIX, 38-16.
  • In Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, the titular character suggests sending a client to Ace after hearing that the case involves strange animals.
  • Progressive rock band The Fall of Troy has a song titled "Laces Out, Dan".
  • D &B / Alt Rock band Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) has a song titled "Laces Out" which they have stated is inspired by Ace Ventura. They ask the crowd if they have seen the movie, then proceed to ask which way the laces face, to which the crowd replies "OUT!" and there is a "LACES" "OUT" back and forth to get the crowd pumped before they play this song
  • Metalcore band The Judas Cradle has a song titled "Laces Out Marino".
  • Grindcore band Tower Of Rome have a song titled "Does He Have A Name, Or Should I Call Him Lawyer?", a reference to a line Ronald Camp says in the film.
  • In the World of Warcraft dungeon of Upper Black Rock Spire there is a character named Finkle Einhorn, a reference to the character in the movie.
  • In The Office episode "New Boss", Pam says "I can tell Michael's mood by which comedy routine he chooses to do -- the more infantile, the more upset he is -- and he just skipped the Ace Ventura talking butt thing. He never skips it."

  • The character of Ace Ventura bears a strong resemblance to Detective Lawrence "Larry" Zito from NBC's 1984 TV show Miami Vice. Both characters are detectives in the Miami area, with similar dress and hair styles.
  • Former UFC champion Rich Franklin is nicknamed ACE because of his uncanny resemblance to Jim Carrey and his character Ace Ventura.

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