I could never claim that Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is my guilty pleasure as I regard it as a masterpiece in comedic acting. Just as Peter Sellers in The Party or Jack Lemmon in The Apartment did, Jim Carrey embodies his character’s truth to the utmost, making his unique cadence and sharp mannerisms entirely believable. Any individual who has taken an acting course in their lives knows that acting, in a minute nutshell, is behavior. The main difference between the crafts of dramaturgy and comedic acting, as Robin Williams once stated, is attention to detail. In comedic acting the humor derives from the actor’s acutely specific application towards credibly bringing to life this newly formed and original human being.
Tom Shadyac’s film is laced with Ace imitating well-known film characters and scenes. He also details Ace’s surroundings with animals and pet food, going as far as filling his car ashtray with multi-colored dog chow. The film does not contain one fill-in scene and Shadyac was smart enough to acknowledge Carrey’s brilliance and allow him to carry the film—no pun intended. The camera work, for the most part, was quite objective, observant, and minimalistic, giving Carrey time and space to dance his magic upon us. Just as a smart sports coach would, Shadyac adapted his strategy to his players, and not the other way around. Credit must also be given to him for having the courage to take so many risks.
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