The football-themed comedy, about the search for a missing mascot, helped turn Jim Carrey into a household name.
It's been 25 years since Jim Carrey bellowed "allllrighty then" on the big screen as the star of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
The film, which hit theaters on Feb. 4, 1994, wasn't well received by critics but Carrey's memorable performance helped turn the comedian into a household name and was the first of three films starring the rubber-faced actor to hit theaters that year (followed by The Mask and Dumb and Dumber).
Grossing $107 million worldwide at the box office on a $15 million budget, Ace Ventura has gained a loyal cult following through frequent TV airings, prompting two film sequels and an animated TV series.
As an eccentric goofball who solves crimes involving pets for a living, Carrey's Ace is tasked by the Miami Dolphins' chief publicist (Courteney Cox) to find their missing mascot. During his investigation, Ventura faces opposition from Lt. Lois Einhorn (Sean Young) and others in the Miami Police Department who refuse to take him seriously.
In light of Ace Ventura's 25th anniversary, the sleuths at The Hollywood Reporter investigate what its cast has been up to since its debut.
Before he played an animal-loving detective with quite a few animalistic tendencies of his own, Carrey was a stand-up comic before finding success on the popular sketch comedy series In Living Color. In addition to Ace Ventura, Carrey starred in two other 1994 cult comedy classics, Dumb and Dumber and The Mask. The following year, he reprised his pet detective role in Ace Ventura's sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Carrey went on to become one of the most bankable stars of the 1990s and early 2000s, leading box office hits like Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While primarily known for his comedic chops, Carrey took on more serious roles as well. He was nominated for Golden Globes for his dramatic performances in The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In the early 2010s, Carrey starred in the films Mr. Popper's Penguins, Kick-Ass 2 and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. He then reprised his Dumb and Dumber role in 2014's Dumb and Dumber To. Currently, Carrey stars as children's TV host Mr. Pickles in Showtime's Kidding. Carrey will next appear as the evil Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog, the big screen adaptation of the popular video game.
Before she became known by TV audiences for her role as Monica Geller on Friends, Cox played Melissa Robinson, the Dolphins' publicist. In Ace Ventura, Robinson is initially repulsed by Ventura's odd behavior, but she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him as they work together on the case. A former model, Cox first gained exposure for dancing alongside Bruce Springsteen in his 1984 "Dancing in the Dark" music video. She spent the next decade making appearances in TV shows like Family Ties, Murder, She Wrote and Seinfeld before finally hitting it big with Friends. Over her 10 seasons on the NBC sitcom, Cox was often praised by critics for her performance. In 1996, Cox played reporter Gale Weathers in the horror blockbuster Scream, a role she reprised for its 1997, 2000 and 2011 sequels. In the years following Friends' finale, Cox briefly led the 2007-08 TV series Dirt and guest starred in an episode of former co-star Lisa Kudrow's Web Therapy before landing another starring role as newly single mother Jules Cobb in the comedy series Cougar Town in 2009. After six seasons, Cougar Town was cancelled in 2015. From 2014 to 2017, Cox executive produced CBS' Celebrity Name Game. In 2018 she appeared as recovering alcoholic actress Jen Wagner on Shameless' ninth season.
Ventura's over-the-top negative reaction to his discovery that Lt. Lois Einhorn is transgender (she was previously Dolphins kicker Ray Finkle) has been a source of controversy since Ace Ventura's debut. Einhorn, the by-the-books leader of the Miami Police Department, is played by Sean Young. Young is perhaps best known for her role as the replicant Rachael in 1982's Blade Runner. Following Ace Ventura, Young starred in a string of TV movies like 1994's Witness to the Execution and Model By Day, 1996's Everything to Gain and 1998's The Cowboy and the Movie Star. She later appeared in a slew of horror movies released in the 2000s and early 2010s, including 2008's Haunted Echoes and Parasomnia and 2012's Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleaders. In 2010, Young recurred as feisty con artist Meggie McClaine on The Young and the Restless. Five years later, she appeared as Dr. Lucien in the Star Trek fan film Star Trek: Renegades. Most recently, she recurred in the 2018 TNT series The Alienist as Mrs. Van Bergen. In addition to acting, Young runs Austin Film Tours, a bus tour she co-founded in 2017 that takes riders to locations featured in the films Office Space, Dazed and Confused and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Prior to his role as Emilio, Ventura's sole friend on the police force, Tone Loc, born Anthony Terrell Smith, was a prominent figure on the LA rap scene. Best known for his 1989 hit singles "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" (both co-written by fellow rap star Young MC), Loc began an acting career after the lackluster sales of his second album, 1991's Cool Hand Loc. He secured his first acting credit for his recurring role as Ronnie Paxton on the early 1990s dramedy Roc. After Ace Ventura, Loc appeared in films like Blank Check and Heat and guest starred on some of the most popular series of the 1990s, including NewsRadio, Touched by an Angel, Early Edition and Martin. In 2000, Loc booked the recurring role of Lenny in the Showtime sitcom Rude Awakening. The following year, he co-starred with John Stamos in the short-lived crime drama TV series Thieves. Identifiable by his distinctive raspy voice, Loc has also made the occasional foray into voice acting. He portrayed C-Bear in the 1996 animated children's show C-Bear and Jamal and has voiced characters on the popular Cartoon Network series Chowder and Uncle Grandpa. In recent years, Loc has revived his rap career. Since 2015, he has has been featured as a special guest on the I Love the 90s tour, where he has shared the stage with fellow hip hop and R&B stars Salt-N-Pepa, TLC, Coolio and frequent collaborator Young MC.
Football legend Dan Marino memorably played himself in Ace Ventura. Just before the Dolphins' big game, the same people who kidnapped the team's mascot Snowflake target Marino, forcing Ventura to save both the quarterback and the real-life dolphin. Drafted by the real-life Miami Dolphins in 1983, Marino was the their star quarterback for 17 seasons. Upon retirement in 1999, Marino held records for the most passing yards, most completions and most touchdown passes in NFL history. After retirement, Marino remained close to the sport he loved by being an analyst for CBS' The NFL Today and HBO's Inside the NFL. In 2014, Marino returned to the Dolphins as a special advisor. Outside of football, Marino has had a successful second career playing himself in films and TV shows like The Simpsons, Little Nicky and Bad Boys II. In 2018, Marino hosted the CW comedy special Animal Cracker, which featured team mascots pranking sports fans. Marino is also known for his philanthropic efforts, including founding the Dan Marino Foundation for children with neurodevelopmental disorders in 1992 and opening the Miami Children's Hospital Dan Marino Center in 1995.
Cobb plays an unnamed menacing dog thief who destroys Ventura's car when the detective tries to steal his client's dog back from Cobb in Ace Ventura's opening scene. Cobb rose to fame as a boxer in the 1980s, notably fighting one of the most brutal matches in history against WBC heavyweight Larry Holmes in 1982. Prior to Ace Ventura, Cobb appeared in the 1979 Jon Voight vehicle The Champ and in 1987's Raising Arizona as the bounty hunter Leonard Smalls. After Ace Ventura, he guest starred in an episode of Highlander: The Series before reuniting with Jim Carrey in 1997's Liar Liar. Cobb's final acting credit before turning his focus to education was his performance as the grizzled Russ Dollarhide in the 2001 finale of Walker, Texas Ranger. In 2008, Cobb graduated magna cum laude from Temple University with a degree in sports management.