Master of Disguise

"Unbearable"

Master of Disguise Review


Once the chief late-night headliner on NBC's Saturday Night Live, Dana Carvey has been reduced to appearing in films emblazoned with the phrase "An Adam Sandler Production." I wondered what it must be like as Sandler's name floated across the screen to pick up your paychecks from the clown who sang songs about food and watched you become a star. Sad. Master of Disguise is just another loop in Dana Carvey's shame spiral; a path that begins right where Wayne's World 2 ends.

Dana Carvey is Pistachio Disguisey (clever!), the last in a long line of "masters of disguise." Charged with using their powers of disguise for good, they have for centuries protected the world from evil, using only their wits and an incredible gift for visual deception. But Pistachio's parents have been kidnapped. To save them, he must at last learn the true history of his family, and discover the powers of disguise he holds inside.

I desperately wanted to love Master of Disguise. Carvey so badly needs a break. Though he's clearly talented and incredibly funny, unlike his ex-partner Mike Myers, Carvey has been completely unable to succeed in any starring role. The Master of Disguise is practically his last chance. If nothing else it seemed like the perfect vehicle for at least a cheap laugh or two, delivered by allowing Carvey to do what he does best... other people.

Though it's true that The Master of Disguise is exactly what it seems -- a thinly disguised wrapper constructed as sketchy framework in which Carvey is given reign to do as many impersonations as possible -- it is also a painfully whitewashed, PG-friendly kids' movie. It has all the nuance of a movie made to entertain your cat. Kids will eat up all the fart jokes, dancing turtles, silly voices, even a skateboarding young lad for them to identify with.

Except kids won't identify. Even toddlers aren't that stupid. The Master of Disguise is horribly contrived and almost wholly annoying. Blaring inappropriate music amidst badly bungled gags, the best Carvey's latest can manage is to avoid being offensive. I'd recommend it for a good nap, except the out-of-place sound effects and cheap pop music are bound to jar you awake.

Sure, Carvey creates a few mildly different characters, usually a guaranteed win where he is concerned. Whoops, none of them are funny and there's not a hint of the Church Lady to be found. Even Presidential impersonations turn out flat and listless, leaving Carvey standing around looking useless in a muddled and mystifying plot, which seems to indecisively waver between Inspector Clouseau and Harry Potter.

So Carvey's career was going nowhere, maybe it was even over. Dana needed to pull a paycheck; I guess I can respect that. But after a movie like this, I hope he isn't expecting to pick up another.

If for some reason the 10 minutes of outtakes that end the 79 minute running time of the film aren't enough, there's another 15 minutes or so of them on the DVD. Gluttons for punishment might listen to Dana Carvey and director Perry Blake's commentary track.

Carvey's head: Stuck in some part of his anatomy.



Master of Disguise

Facts and Figures

Run time: 23 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd April 2003

Production compaines: Happy Madison Productions, Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

IMDB: 9.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Pistachio Disguisey, as Devlin Bowman, as Jennifer Baker, as Grandfather Disguisey, as Fabbrizio Disguisey, as Barney Baker, as Mother Disguisey, as Sophia (as Maria Canals), Robert Machray as Texas Man, Michael Bailey Smith as Henchman, Rachel Lederman as Texas Wife, as Trent, as Kenan, Jay Johnston as Rex, as Jessica Simpson


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