We’ll start this article with a fact that’s probably going to make you feel very old – so don’t say we didn’t warn you! Incredibly, it’s been twenty-five years since we last saw Jim Carrey talking to the animals as Ace Ventura, the pet detective. For us – and for many people reading this article – watching Carrey laugh, gurn, and prance around the screen making toilet jokes is a treasured memory of youth. ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’ was a surprise hit in 1994, and producers capitalized on it so quickly that the sequel, titled ‘When Nature Calls,’ came out the following year.
Carrey’s career has gone from strength to strength since then, and the children who fell in love with him have now grown up and had children of their own, but the popularity of the films has never really gone away. They’re on television a lot, especially over holiday seasons. The movie was even used as the inspiration for an online slots game called ‘Ace Ventura’ on website like Amigo Slots. While it’s not uncommon for films to lend themselves to online slots if they’re successful, children’s movies tend to be left out of the process. Look for other online slots based on movies, and you’ll see titles like ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘Ted’ – neither of which are films you’d allow your pre-teen child to watch. ‘Ace Ventura’ stands out from the crowd – and now it seems that after a quarter of a century, a third movie is on its way.
We should stress at this point that we’re yet to see any official confirmation that the movie is being made, but having made that statement, there are several good reasons to be optimistic about the prospect of production starting soon. Jim Carrey has consistently said for the past three or four years that he’d return to the role of Ace Ventura if asked to do so, and the website ‘We Got It Covered’ recently said that talks are at an advanced stage. Digital Spy picked up on the report, and Morgan Creek, the company responsible for the production of the previous two films, responded to the story with a ‘side-eye’ Tweet on social media. ‘We Got It Covered’ have a good track record of picking up showbiz scoops, and Morgan Creek’s cryptic Tweet suggests that they’re bang on the money once again.
It may be the case that a script for a third film has been available for a long time, and the producers have been waiting on Carrey agreeing to play the part. For a long time, he was consistent in saying that he didn’t want to revisit his past and felt that he was too old to play the character convincingly, but his tone has relaxed in more recent years to the point where he’s publicly stated he’d be willing to have a conversation about it. If Carrey’s there, the script exists, and the money is right, there’s no reason why the film couldn’t be made.
This wouldn’t be the first attempt Morgan Creek has made to revisit their valuable property. Years after the success of the films, they got involved in an animated series based on the further adventures of the character, although its run was short, and it failed to attract a large audience. More recently, in 2009, they released a direct-to-DVD movie called ‘Ace Ventura Jr,’ based on the escapes of the original character’s son. The film didn’t feature any involvement from Jim Carrey, and nor was it written by Steve Oedekerk, who was responsible for the original pair of feature films. Unsurprisingly, the movie was unpopular with fans, attracted dreadful reviews, and has now largely been forgotten. If Morgan Creek and Jim Carrey really are bringing Ace Ventura back to the silver screen, they would likely be best advised to pretend that the ‘Junior’ movie never happened at all.
The role Ace Ventura played in kickstarting the career of Jim Carrey as a major box office attraction cannot be overstated. 1994 was a breakout year for the performer, who had previously been an eccentric stand-up comedian. As well as appearing in the first ‘Ace Ventura’ film, Carrey also appeared as ‘the Mask’ in the same year. The success of both films turned Carrey into an A-list celebrity, and demand for his services went through the roof. He was already under contract to shoot the sequel to ‘Ace Ventura,’ but backed out of a planned sequel to ‘The Mask.’ Within a small number of months, he’d signed up to star in legal comedy ‘Liar Liar,’ and a year after that, he made ‘The Truman Show.’ Carrey was a box-office smash, but he was too busy making new things to come back to the things he’d done before.
In more recent years, his output has slowed down. He became embroiled in controversy in 2013 when he refused to perform any publicity or promotional duties in association with his part in ‘Kick-Ass 2’ because he felt the film was too violent and has appeared in only two feature films since his 2014 comedy sequel ‘Dumb and Dumber To.’ His next film outing will be as the voice of Dr. Robotnik in the heavily-delayed ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ movie. At the age of 57, Carrey has more films behind him than he does in his future. If he’s going to come back to one of his greatest hits in the shape of ‘Ace Ventura,’ it’s likely a case of ‘now or never’ if he’s going to play the part convincingly.
To those of us who saw the films as children (and one hundred more times after that on VHS and DVD), Carrey’s age doesn’t matter. So long as the jokes are silly and the script is good, we’ll cope with the fact that he’s not as spry as he used to be. If there’s to be one more ‘Ace Ventura’ film, we want it to be nostalgic, unashamedly retro, and in keeping with the origins of the tale. All the signs seem to suggest that it’s happening, so let’s see what Morgan Creek comes up with. If they have something to say, they’re likely to say it sooner rather than later.