When you’re an iconic name in your field, you hope your successor doesn’t do anything to screw up your legacy, especially if it’s your own son and heir. This usually means you’re not around to guide your protege and its up to them. Rather like the second sequel to the Ace Ventura film, when the lead actor couldn’t return as his characters son must saddle the reigns by himself. The result is a charming TV movie spin-off by the name of Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective.
A young pet-loving boy by the name of… Ace Ventura Jr. can’t help helping animals, even at the cost of his grades, and the potential jeopardy to his mother’s job as a zookeeper. This is an especially important with the arrival of special pandas from China, and Melissa Robinson Ventura is in charge of safekeeping them both. However, the Pandas get abducted and Ace’s mother is the prime suspect. Where he’s put under the protective care of his Grandpa, Rex. Now Ace must channel his bloodline to find his calling as a pet detective and to help clear his mother’s name.
But ace is obviously not alone in this adventure, We meet Ace Snr.’s father and Jr.’s grandfather, Rex, who manages to sport the same trademark hairstyle and penchant for animals. As well as a tech-obsessed computer enthusiast by the name of Arnold Plushinsky (A-Plus to his friends), and Ace’s young crush and first client, Laura, Making a keen departure from the Ace Ventura formula by having the new detective rely on a team of willing helpers. Melissa Robinson from the first film returns, only now she’s played by Ann Cusack rather than Courtney Cox. But what remains the same is the abundance of cute animals that will definitely tug at the heartstrings.
It’s apparent that Josh Flitter had a lot of weight on his shoulders, and Josh manages the responsibility tremendously well. He throws out more quips than Rodney Dangerfield, and his confidence matches up to the same standard as Ace Snr. In fact, you hardly notice the absence of Ace Snr. Some of the more adult jokes obviously had to be scrapped. But considering this is a more family-friendly T.V. movie, there’s still ample room for laughs everybody will enjoy.
It’s a shame that Ace Ventura Jr. couldn’t return Jim Carrey to his iconic position, but the film makes lemonade out of those lemons, with his son just as capable of providing an intriguing animal mystery loaded with laughs. That would introduce the audience, maybe too young to have seen the original two films, to the character, and comedy, of Ace.
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