Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) Review

Like a glove!

Most sequels are known to mar the memory of the originals as they cash in on their success, but not When Nature Calls. No, this is a worthy sequel, and you’ll be hard pressed to choose a favourite.

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls doesn’t jump right into the action and the funny straight away; instead, it spends the first minute or two displaying pretty helicopter shots with music, as if to say, “Look at the bigger budget we’ve been given!” But when it does soon get going, it’s more of the Ace Ventura we know and love. And it’s not repetitive or same-y at all, and doesn’t repeat any jokes nearly (cough, Austin Powers), because they’ve mixed everything up to the point where the only similarity is Ace himself. New setting, new plot, new supporting cast.

Let me just say that the setting is brilliant – Africa. It’s exotic, much different from the normal America of the original, and thoroughly enjoyable. Plus, it provides better opportunity for animals.

The plot, sadly, isn’t so strong. Where Ace Ventura had a thought-out, detective-y storyline, When Nature Calls has a far more common, generic plot, with less plot twists and detective themes. Almost as if they rushed to make the sequel and strike while the iron’s hot.

Finally, the cast features Jim Carrey, who’s back and at the peak of his ability, although his character may have lost the odd mannerism. Courtney Cox is missing which is a slight shame, in favour of Ace’s new sidekick, Fulton Greenwold, played by Ian McNeice. He is the fat guy who pulls the funny faces, and not much more. Perhaps some wasted talent, as they don’t even make a fat joke! Without spoiling too much, the other main character is the dramatic Simon Callow, who sports a lovely posh English accent but lacks some comedy. Finally, there is a slight love interest in the form of Sophie Okonedo, but these scenes could be found awkward more than anything else.

Alongside the exotic, fun setting comes a catchy choice of music which fits very well. As with the original, there is a music montage scene which is usually an indicator that the writers are dead lazy, but again the scene is funny in itself  and well made, clearly intended to be a musical scene and a very fun change of pace.

The comedy is well-directed with the jokes being well set up, and the camera work is, again, never obnoxious or obtrusive.

I can’t decide a favourite between Ace Ventura and this worthy sequel. On the one hand, When Nature Calls’ theme is much more light-hearted and family-friendly, but on the other, there may be more jokes and originality in the first entry. When Nature Calls isn’t as consistently funny as the first one, and the party scene is not as witty, but there are still some hilarious scenes (the rhino birth). My favourite is still the Wachootoo test scene though. Definitely worth watching, and there’s not a reason in the world not to love Ace Ventura. Still endlessly quotable.

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