25 years ago, in 1994, Jim Carrey starred in three movies that were each a blockbuster smash: Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. But it’s the latter that really made him a star. Carrey famously hates doing sequels to his movies, since he doesn’t like to play the same character twice, but he returned to the role of Ace and there’s a good reason for that. He’s a hilarious character. The character’s stories involve physical comedy, his lines are always unwieldy and unpredictable – for a master improviser like Carrey, that character is an all-you-can-eat buffet of comedy. Here are Ace Ventura’s 10 Funniest Quotes.
10 “If I’m not back in five minutes, just wait longer.”
Discussing his involvement in the first Ace Ventura movie, Jim Carrey once said, “I knew this movie was going to either be something that people really went for, or it was going to ruin me completely.” In the end, while its critical response wasn’t great, it did find an audience and become one of the biggest comedies of the ‘90s. Even to this day, it has a huge cult following. And it’s the movie that turned Carrey from “the white guy on In Living Color” to the biggest movie star in the world, and that transformation happened pretty much overnight.
9 “Lew-Who, Za-Her!”
In a lot of Jim Carrey performances, we see him take a word we’ve heard a million times before and say it in a way we’ve never heard before. And so goes his pronunciation of the word “loser” in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He announces, “That was close one, ladies and gentlemen. Of course, in every contest, there must be a loser. Lew-Who, Za-Her!”
It’s fair to say that this whole line – and the scene, actually – wouldn’t be anywhere near as memorable if he didn’t end it by saying, “Lew-Who, Za-Her!” This isn’t just one of the most memorable Ace Ventura quotes; it’s one of the most memorable Jim Carrey quotes, period.
8 “Guano. Sounds so familiar.”
As Ace licks what he thinks is “fruit paste” out the bottom of a piece of pottery in the jungle, Ouda tells him, “It’s made from guano.” Intrigued by this, Ace says, “Guano. Sounds so familiar.” And then Fulton Greenwall explains that guano is made from “bat droppings.” It wasn’t a “fruit paste,” or even food, after all. As Greenwall explains further, “Guano is their chief resource – they use it to make many things in the village.” To save face as he spits the paste out onto the ground and scrapes what remains from his tongue, Ace simply says, “Yummy!”
7 “Be careful with that phone, Lieutenant. In time, you could develop a tumor.”
In many ways, Ace Ventura is a pitch-perfect parody of characters from ‘80s action shows like Magnum P.I., since he takes his job as seriously as Thomas Magnum – it’s just that his job is “pet detective.” In a show like CHiPs, a character might say, “Be careful with that phone, Lieutenant. One bad call and you’ll blow our whole investigation!” Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura, with the exact same degree of deadpan, says, “Be careful with that phone, Lieutenant. In time, you could develop a tumor.” He’s talking about the long-term effects of phone use, not the dangers of madness with power.
6 “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Camp, and congratulations on all your success. You smell terrific.”
When Ace introduces himself to Ronald Camp, he adopts the undercover persona of a lawyer named Tom Ace. He shakes Camp’s hand and says, “Tom Ace. Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Camp, and congratulations on all your success. You smell terrific. I was just telling Melissa that one of the first things we learned back at Stanford Law was the modern proliferation of food poisoning claims against wealthy private homeowners. In fact, if one were so inclined, one could make quite a lucrative law practice with little else. How is everyone feeling tonight?” He’s like a more outlandish Axel Foley.
5 “Excuse me! I’d like to ass you a few questions!”
Jim Carrey is a master of physical comedy. We’ve seen countless occasions where his affinity for the classic slapstick stars of the silent era have led to a blending of old and new comedy stylings. We see this in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective when he turns around and pretends to talk out of his butt. He says, “Excuse me! I’d like to ass you a few questions!” Ace is working a case, because he’s a detective, but he’s a fun detective. It’s a really juvenile, immature, childish gag, but thanks to Carrey’s commitment to pulling it off, it works somehow.
4 “Einhorn is Finkle. Finkle is Einhorn! Einhorn is a man! Oh my God! Einhorn is a man!?”
Today’s audiences judge the scene in which Ace realizes he kissed a man to be homophobic, but that’s exactly what Jim Carrey was going for – homophobia that was so exaggerated, it would point out how ridiculous it is in the first place. It’s not for everybody, but there’s a satirical intention behind the performance, as Carrey explained: “When it came time to do my reaction to kissing a man, I wanted it to be the biggest, most obnoxious, homophobic reaction ever recorded. It’s so ridiculous, it can’t be taken seriously – even though it guarantees that somebody’s going to be offended.”
3 “I came to confess. I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll.”
Understanding this joke requires a little background knowledge. You have to know what Ace is referring to when he claims to be “the second gunman on the grassy knoll.” But come on, who isn’t familiar with that at this point? There’s a popular theory about the Kennedy assassination that the bullet couldn’t have come from the Book Depository window from which Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly shot the President.
Instead, there had to have been a second shooter on the grassy knoll across the road. This is what Ace Ventura is referring to when he says, “I came to confess. I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll.”
2 “Okay, I threw it in a cave! What do you want from me? What are you, Mr. Perfect!?”
In the sequel, a monk asks Ace, “What answer do you seek?” Ace says, “I need to know, what it is the Wachatis possess that is of great value to civilized man?” The monk replies, “The medallion will lead you to the answer. You do still have the medallion, don’t you?” And then Ace remembers that he tossed the medallion some time ago. Ace says, “Medallion? Why, surely. I left it back, uhh, with my body.” The monk says, “Your aura is weakening,” and then Ace comes clean: “Okay, I threw it in a cave! What do you want from me? What are you, Mr. Perfect!?”
1 “Alrighty then!”
This is Ace Ventura’s catchphrase. On paper, it doesn’t seem like much of a catchphrase, because in and of itself, it’s not particularly funny. But it’s the way that Jim Carrey delivers it every time that makes it funny. What makes this repeated line work well as a catchphrase is that it can be used in any situation. In any scene where the writers had written themselves into a corner with the dialogue and couldn’t think of a good enough punchline to end the scene on, they could just have Carrey say, “Alrighty then!” and lead them into the next scene.