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
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
IMDB: 9.8 / 10
Master of Disguise Review
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.