Miami Memoirs: Revisiting Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

The year was 1994, and Miami private investigator Ace Ventura, who specialized in the retrieval of lost animals, was suddenly the most important man in the city. Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins' beloved mascot, had been abducted only two weeks before the Super Bowl. 

The above description perfectly summarizes the script of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. It sounded ridiculous. And to this day, it is one of the greatest comedies ever filmed — all here in Miami. 

For most films, the setting isn't all that important or advertised, but Ace Ventura: Pet Detective isn't most movies. Jim Carrey's eccentric character was undeniably a Miami man with Miami problems. He was tasked with a Miami Dolphins mission that only grew more tangled as he explored its mysterious web. Who had abducted Snowflake? Which ex-Fins player was missing a stone from his 1984 AFC championship ring? Who was Ray Finkle, and why couldn't anyone find him?

All of these questions were eventually answered in the most absurd comedy of its time. The film helped launch Carrey's acting career into a place that led to a decade-long string of classic comedy roles. Dumb and Dumber (1994), The Cable Guy (1996), and Liar Liar (1997) all followed. 
Pet Detective arrived during a time when Miami's cinematic claim to fame was only Scarface, a great film, but not exactly the taste you want to leave in viewers' mouths. The film's popularity also grew at the tail end of what was the Miami Dolphins' peak Dan Marino years (not to mention the last time the Dolphins themselves were relevant).

It's a rare occurrence to have a major Hollywood movie dedicated to your hometown sports team — especially in the early '90s. Before social media and the golden years of the internet, seeing Marino and the Dolphins on the big screen was a big deal. The film wasn't just hilarious; it was hilariously Miami. The city was everywhere. It was the perfect medium between Scarface and Miami Vice — not too Cocaine Cowboys era, not too South Beach. 
To this day, you might hear some of Carrey's famous lines from Pet Detective. Hell, you might even throw out an "alllriiiighhhhhty, thennnn!" once in a while and not even realize it was embedded in your brain to say it that way.

The classic scene where Ace finally cracks the mysterious case is still so memorable. "Finkle and Einhorn, Finkle and Einhorn, Finkle and Einhorn, Finkle and Einhorn, Finkle and Einhorn, Finkle and Einhorn, Finkle, Einhorn, Einhorn, Finkle, Einhorn and Finkle, Finkle and Einhorn.

"Finkle is Einhorn... Einhorn is Finkle! Einhorn is a man! Ohhhhh my God!" 
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective will forever be remembered as one of the crown jewels Carrey gave to comedy and one of the greatest films ever shot in our hometown. Twenty-two years later, and we're still giddy that it was so Miami. 
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi