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The Guy Who Directed ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’ Is Now Asking Big Questions About The Universe

The Guy Who Directed 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' Is Now Asking Big Questions About The Universe

Tom Shadyac, the director of “The Nutty Professor,” “Liar Liar,” “Bruce Almighty” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” is just coming out of an odd few years following his last film, “Evan Almighty.” After a deadly cycling accident, the director sold his 17,000-square-foot mansion in Pasadena, gave away most of his money and possessions, now lives in a trailer park by choice and has spent the past little while putting together a documentary about these experiences and what he’s learned in “I Am.”

A trailer for the film has landed and it’s a lot of New Age-y mumbo jumbo, with the long-haired Shadyac wasting a lot of interesting people’s time by asking them about how humanity can improve, and discovers along the way that we are all connected. Well, isn’t that just a big ol’ pile of mushy feel-goodery. This looks kind of ridiculous if not totally manipulative (footage from the Tiananmen Square protests? bombings in Vietnam? really?) and the kind of simplistic hucksterism that fake religious types use to hawk their wares on late night television. Sorry Tom, we’re not buying into this.

But hey, if the movie touched you in a very special place, then who are we to stop you? It will hit theaters on February 8, 2011. Official synopsis and trailer below (or in HD at Apple).

I AM, a prismatic and probing exploration of our world, what’s wrong with it, and what we can do to make it better, represents Tom Shadyac’s first foray into non-fiction following a career as one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners, with such successful titles as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” and “Bruce Almighty” to his credit. I AM recounts what happened to the filmmaker after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged a changed man. Disillusioned with life on the A-list, he sold his house, moved to a mobile home community, and decided to start life anew. Armed with nothing but his innate curiosity and a camera crew, Shadyac embarks upon a journey to discover how he as an individual, and we as a race, can improve the way we live. Appearing on-screen as character, commentator, guide, and even, at times, guinea pig, Shadyac meets with a variety of thinkers and doers–remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, and faith–including such luminaries as David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson, John Francis, Coleman Barks, and Marc Ian Barasch. An irrepressible Everyman who asks many questions but offers no easy answers, he takes the audience to places it has never been before, and presents even familiar phenomena in completely new and different ways.

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J’ai pour ma part été parcourue de frissons en regardant le ‘preview’ de ce film, que je vais certainement aller voir. Ça me semble tout à fait inspirant comme documentaire. Merci à l’avance.


Does this remind anyone else of the third part of the “Raaaaaaaandy” documentary where Randy starts becoming interested in Darfur?


a movie supporting and intellectualizing altruism? by the director of ace ventura? jesus fucking christ. i actually burst out loud laughing when i saw noam chomsky.


He’s clearly not dead. Did another cyclist die?


Despite the mushy trailer and p.r., I saw a screening and thought the film had some excellent points–especially for those pursuing the Hollywood Dream. One that sticks with me: in fact money *can* buy you happiness–to a point. But beyond that baseline, the pursuit of money / power / fame brings nothing to one’s life but unfulfilled expectations. The pursuit of “happiness,” i.e. wealth, is a lie our culture propagates and lots of people believe. There’s a reason people who win the lottery have a higher suicide rate than other people. I wonder what would happen if this were required viewing for people in the Biz?

I feared the film would go down the rabbit hole in the way that “What the Bleep Do We Know?” did. But Shadyac managed to keep the thing in the realm of the sensible and sane. I found it to be a worthy, discussion-inducing film.

Edward Davis

You’d think that it wouldn’t have to take a near death experience for the director of ACE VENTURA to wake up and think WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Though i suppose discerning moviegoers on the planet can quietly thank the intervening act of god.


–“after a deadly cycling accident,” he went on to give away most of his possessions?
–spent the past little putting together a documentary about these experiences.

You guys are so good at aggregating the daily scoop. I wish you had someone to proof it.

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