If an actress' stock can be measured by the company she keeps, then Lauren Holly has gone from junk bonds to blue chips in five years flat. In 1990, she played Andrew Dice Clay's girlfriend in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (''He was a gentleman,'' Holly says) and Betty in the comic book-based TV movie Archie: To Riverdale and Back (''That's something I'd like to sweep under the couch''). These days, she's Jim Carrey's love interest on screen (Dumb and Dumber) and off, and has recently completed a role opposite Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear in the romantic remake Sabrina.
And that's just during her downtime from her role as Deputy Maxine (''Max'') Stewart on the Emmy-winning CBS drama Picket Fences. It's a measure of Holly's fresh-scrubbed charm that she's been able to shine on Fences despite an unflattering blue uniform. ''I'm stuck with it,'' says Holly, 31, of the outfit. ''Although there is something to be said for those boots, because I never have sore feet.''
Holly has no reason to be sore about her movie career, either. At least not since she turned down Courteney Cox's role in Carrey's 1994 breakthrough, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. ''I kicked myself when it came out,'' she admits. When Dumb came up Holly wasn't so stupid. But even though it made $126.4 million, don't expect Dumb and Dumbest anytime soon. ''Jim's in sequel hell right now,'' says Holly of her beau, now starring in Batman Forever, with Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and The Mask 2 lined up.
Holly's cinematic dance card is booked solid as well:
In Sabrina (due later this year), she's fiancée to playboy Kinnear, but Holly says in real life her heart belongs to Ford: ''I have a huge crush on him. He's the perfect man.'' (Watch out, Jim.)
In Beautiful Girls (due this fall), she's a married woman who has an affair with Matt Dillon at their high school reunion. ''I get to say swearwords on screen for the first time,'' she says excitedly. ''She plays a really sexy role,'' says Girls director Ted Demme. ''She does get a little bit raw.''
In the submarine comedy Down Periscope (due in 1996) with Frasier's Kelsey Grammer, she plays a Navy officer. ''I wear another uniform,'' Holly says with a sigh. ''But I'm used to it.''
What Holly's not used to is the media treating her love life as news. ''It's a bummer,'' she says. ''They're always writing that we're breaking up, which we haven't done in over a year.'' The actress' recent return to her blond roots after five years as a redhead has brought her anonymity and a new set of problems. ''Jim and I were walking around Charleston [S.C., site of the next Ace], and people were yelling that he was a cheater.'' Carrey says he likes her new look: ''I've always been a dark-haired-girl guy, but Lauren wrecked all that.''
Will the duo ever work together again? He hopes so: ''We want to make people sick of us like Tom and Roseanne ram ourselves down people's throats,'' he says. ''We're a team!'' Well, all righty then.