The Master of Disguise
It’s a shame when a guy as funny as Dana Carvey cannot catch a break. Apart from his two ventures as Garth in the Wayne’s World movies, his film career has been less than illustrious. Unfortunately, The Master of Disguise isn’t really going to help his cause.
Carvey is Pistachio Disguisey, clumsy, bumbling waiter in his family’s Italian restaurant. He wonders everyday if that he isn’t destined for a much greater cause and spends his time doing silly impressions and acting out characters. When his father, Fabbrizio Disguisey (James Brolin), is kidnapped and forced to steal historical icons by the aptly named Devil Bowman (Brent Spiner). It turns out that the Disguisey legacy is that they are masters of disguise and therefore imitate almost anything, becoming invisible and blending into the background, using their powers to protect the world from evil over the centuries.
The worried Pistachio, is approached by his hitherto unknown Grandfather (Harold Gould), who comes forward to teach him the family art of disguising. Undergoing the serious and arduous training, it turns out that Pistachio might be the one acorn that fell far from the tree.
Part of the Disguisey tradition (as told by Pistachio’s Grandfather) is that all Masters of Disguise have to have an assistant – which is a really pathetic exercise to try and crowbar in a love interest. Step forward Jennifer Baker (Jennifer Esposito) to take up the position of Pistachios assistant and to predictably fall in love with the clumsy would be Master.
With everything that he needs in place, and now armed with the skills of his forefathers, Pistachio sets out to rescue his father from the evil clutches of Bowman, who plans to sell the stolen items on the black market ebay.
That’s the film in a clinch, and what a poor attempt at humour it is. The script was extensively rewritten and changed time and time again and it shows – there is no cohesion or consistency within the script. It’s a poor excuse to have the talented Carvey go from impression to impression. With painful lines such as “In his weakened state, he must have been pulled over to the dark side of Energico” which is Grandfather Disguisey’s explanation for Fabbrizio ‘going bad’ – not a lot of thought went into it as Energico seems to be added on as an after thought. Incidentally Energico is an invisible energy field that binds Disguiseys together – sound familiar? And not even a Jedi in sight.
The cast seems to be in it for some explanation that is totally unfounded in this universe. Carvey’s impressions are spot on especially his version of Robert Shaw from Jaws and Tony Montana from Scarface. Unfortunately when he’s not doing impression, he’s annoying as the bumbling and high pitched voiced Pistachio. If Brent Spiner thought that this might be a way to kick start his non-Star Trek career; he was deeply mistaken. Only Jennifer Esposito, better known for playing Stacey Paterno in Spin City, seems to be genuinely embarrassed to be in the film. A few more stars pop up in cameo roles and they include Jessica Simpson, Jesse Ventura, Bo Derek, Michael Johnston and Paula Abdul amongst others.
Apart from the few impression that Dana Carvey entertains with, the film has very few laughs in it at all and definitely not enough to sustain it through 80 minutes (which also include three minutes worth of outtakes over the credits). There are fart jokes aplenty which might entertain very small children for a while, but even they will be bored before long.
Overall The Master of Disguise is a very poor effort that does no favours for its cast, crew, director, writers and most importantly the audience, which is a real shame seeing that the talents involved could have done so much better.
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