Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) / Comedy-Adventure

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude humor, nudity, and language
Running Time: 90 min.

Cast: Jim Carrey, Ian McNeice, Simon Callow, Maynard Eziashi, Bob Gunton, Sophie Okonedo, Tommy Davidson, Adewale
Director: Steve Oedekerk
Screenplay: Steve Oedekerk
Review published December 18, 2006

In this sequel, a botched rescue attempt of a raccoon in Asia leaves Ace Ventura (Carrey, Batman Forever) an emotional wreck, so distraught that he joins a brotherhood of Tibetan monks to help find his way back.  While at the monastery, he is visited by an African missionary who seeks his assistance in recovering the legendary sacred animal, Skikaka (a white bat), whose loss threatens to cause tensions to spill over between two warring African tribes. 

Steve Oedekerk (Kung Pow, Barnyard), project consultant on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, borrows a page from the Ernest movies by putting his obstinate and annoying character in a completely unique setting for more of the same rude hijinks and physical humor in this sequel.  The result is a more visually inventive yet even more juvenile effort (hard to imagine), which once again allows the star comedian to cut completely loose with the material for some choice sight gags and sporadically funny crude humor.

When Nature Calls continues the tradition of the first film in terms of its level of humor (namely, aiming pretty low), but the main character is a little more proactive in trying to annoy the rest of the characters in the film, holding absolutely nothing sacred, save for his precious animals.  The result is a fitfully funny comedy that does contain a few clever moments of fun, but your mileage will certainly vary when it comes to a very over-the-top assault on your funny bone in a very crude fashion.  It's the kind of movie where once you start laughing, you might become too giddy to stop -- or if you find yourself not laughing, the film will only continue to press your buttons to the point of annoyance.

I think that younger viewers will tend to enjoy When Nature Calls more so than adults, as the gags are more slapstick-y and broad than they had been in the first effort.  However, for those who liked the cameo appearances and detective storyline from the first film, there's less to identity with in this sequel save for the personality of the main character, whose famous catchphrases and one-dimensional delivery become redundant very quickly.  Carrey is still a marvel, and Oedekerk often quite inventive, but in the end, the film feels much more like a series of 5- minute "Ace Ventura in Africa" skits than as a unified project, leaving the momentum hit and miss throughout for most viewers.

-- Ace Ventura's adventures would continue as a Carrey-less television cartoon in 1996.

Qwipster's rating

©2006 Vince Leo