15 Trivia Tidbits About Ace Ventura
Alrighty then! While not everything about Jim Carrey’s star-making, iconic comedy has aged well (you know what we mean), those parts that have are still comedic gold. So it’s time for some behind-the-scenes facts about everyone’s favorite pet detective, Ace Ventura.
We’ve got some good ones here, too. Or more appropriately, we’re certainly not talking out of our asses.
Jim Carrey Wasn’t the First (Or Third) Choice
The first person approached to play the role of Ace Ventura was Rick Moranis, but he turned it down. Judd Nelson, Alan Rickman, David Alan Grier and Whoopi Goldberg were all considered for the star turn before Morgan Creek Productions went with Carrey, thanks to his work on In Living Color.
Carrey Went Method Animal
Carrey has said that the performance of Ace Ventura — particularly his walk — was inspired by a bird. More specifically, a “smart bird at the edge of a pond.”
Ace’s License to Kill
An earlier version of the script had Ace accidentally decapitate two goons toward the end of the movie.
It Nearly Had ‘Dumb and Dumber’s Cast
The original choice for Courteney Cox’s role was Lauren Holly. She turned down the part, but she’d end up playing the love interest for Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. Also, in matters of the heart (and IRL), Carrey and Holly later got married in 1996, only to divorce a year later.
The Animal Pack
Many of the animals in the Ace Ventura films have had on-screen success beyond animal-related crime stories. A giraffe from the first film was in a Toys “R” Us commercial. Ace’s sidekick Spike was played by a capuchin monkey named Binx, who also appeared with Carrey in Bruce Almighty. Poncho the Parrot appeared in Dr. Dolittle and would say Carrey’s iconic “Alrighty then” line for years after filming Ace Ventura.
The Ass-piration for Butt Talking
The gag of Ace talking out of his ass was born out of a disagreement with Keenen Ivory Wayans on In Living Color. When Wayans told Carrey he didn’t think a sketch worked, Carrey spun around, grabbed his ass cheeks and delivered the lines from his anus.
Critics Hated It
Unsurprisingly, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective wasn’t received well by critics, as many lambasted Carrey’s over-the-top performance. Roger Ebert wrote, “Carrey plays Ace as if he’s being clocked on an Energy-O-Meter, and paid by the calories expended,” while The New York Times’ Stephen Holden added, “The movie has the metabolism, logic and attention span of a peevish 6-year-old.”
Even Carrey Hated the Sequel
Carrey reportedly had several issues with the sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, including its offensive depiction of native Africans. He also thought Ace’s fear of bats was a cheap storytelling device. He has since admitted that he regrets making it.
No One Wanted to Direct the Sequel Either
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls had a tough time finding a director. The first film’s director, Tom Shadyac, declined to return, and the Farrelly Brothers declined as well. Spike Jonze was interested, but Carrey said no to the yet-to-be-tested director. Eventually, Tom DeCerchio was hired and then fired for clashing with Carrey. Finally, Carrey’s friend and co-writer of When Nature Calls, Steve Oedekerk, directed the film.
Beef With Giant Poultry
Carrey rode an ostrich in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and was thrown off during filming. In an interview, Carrey compared it to “riding a Thanksgiving turkey.”
The Two Aces
In the short-lived Ace Ventura: Pet Detective cartoon series, Ace was played by voice actor Michael Daingerfield. Daingerfield was such a good match for Carrey that when Carrey was unavailable to provide some automated dialogue replacement for Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, they hired Daingerfield to do it instead.
Into the Carrey-verse
The 1995 cartoon series lasted 41 episodes and concluded with a crossover event that saw Ace Ventura meet Stanley Ipkiss, Carrey’s protagonist from The Mask. Carrey’s breakout year was 1994 when he starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. The next year, all three made-for-adult movies were adapted into kids’ cartoon shows ranging from “alrighty” to “aw, hell nah.”
Ace: The Next Generation
In 2009, Cartoon Network debuted the live-action sequel Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective, where the son of Ace is now a pet detective. Ace Ventura Jr. was played by Josh Flitter, who previously played a bully who harassed Carrey’s character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. However, the less said about Ace Ventura Jr., the better.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Despite the ill-advised nature of Ace Ventura Jr., as recently as 2021, X-Men star Evan Peters has been rumored to play Ace’s son in a sequel to the original two Ace Ventura films, which would see Carrey’s Ace return to pass on the mantle to his son. No, please, just no.
Ace Is Forever Polarizing
In 2008, Empire Magazine named Ace Ventura as the 59th Greatest Movie Character of All Time. Meanwhile, two years earlier, on the U.K. website LoveFilm.com, a poll of 5,000 people voted him as the fourth most annoying character ever. Honestly, both placements seem perfectly appropriate.