Awfully Good: Master of Disguise
Between seeing Dana Carvey's three-second cameo in JACK AND JILL and encountering his former SNL costar Rob Schnedier last week, I was reminded that this movie exists. I am filled with regret.
The Master of Disguise (2002)
Director: Perry Blake
Stars: Dana Carvey, James Brolin, Brent Spiner
Is there a plot?
Dana Carvey dresses up in costumes and talks funny. LAUGH
What's the damage?
I like Dana Carvey. He effortlessly pulled off so many memorable characters on Saturday Night Live that a movie where he has to play a bunch of different people seemed like a decent comeback project. It wasn't. Oh Lord, how it wasn't.
I'm not saying I dislike the intrinsic freedoms the United States was founded on, but sometimes they lead to stuff like this.
First of all, the main character's name is Pistachio Disguisey. That's right; some studio exec actually read that on the first page of the script and didn't immediately introduce it to the nearest waste receptacle. It's utterly bafflingly and only a hint of the disaster to come.
Never has a screenshot been so honest.
Carvey's character comes from a long line of legendary "Masters of Disguise," a group of second-rate spies that are merely an excuse for everyone to speak in dreadful Italian accents. (James Brolin's is particularly, unbelievably bad.) When Pistachio's parents are kidnapped, the young manchild must step up and assume his destiny to dress in dumb costumes and rescue them. But just who would dare kidnap the Disguiseys?
At the neighborhood orgy, Davey encountered what can only be described as a "Lady and the Tramp Four Way."
None other than Brent Spiner! The "Star Trek" actor plays a rare art collector who farts a lot and forces the masters of disguise to use their talents for evil so they can steal famous artifacts to be sold on…the Black Mark-eBay. (Yes, that is an actual joke in the film.) The artifacts include the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell and Bruce Willis' hairpiece. Pistachio's dad is able to steal these priceless items because he disguises himself as celebrities like Jesse Ventura, Jessica Simpson and Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson (a.k.a. whichever famous people would agree to be in this crap). Because everyone knows, if you're in anyway recognizable to the public consciousness, you can simply walk in and take our national treasures. Why didn't Nicolas Cage think of this?
Pistachio's Hemorrhoid Man costume was a bit much.
I guess you could make a case that MASTER OF DISGUISE is so dumb it's geared towards children, but it still suffers from unbelievably lazy writing. Anytime the filmmakers need to explain away a plot point or something that might not make sense, they just attribute it to a magical energy, a mystical book, a strange ball of knowledge, or the wise old grandfather. This is also director Perry Blake's only credit behind the camera. His main job? Being the production designer on all of Adam Sandler's other projects, including last week's BIG STAN. And because this is a Sandler produced film, of course there's also lots of random farting.
[Insert lazy Kim Kardashian joke]
All of the actors and cameos should be embarrassed by this movie, but unfortunately it's Dana Carvey who comes off the worst. For one, he's just a terrible fit for the role as a 47 year old playing a juvenile 23 year old. And though the character is a good vehicle for his skills as an impersonator, he's also written as unbelievably annoying in a nonstop, manic way. Pistachio is characterized by things like lusting over women with big asses because his mom had a large posterior. Not to mention a lot of his disguises are fairly racist.
A look inside Uncle Touchy's Naked Puzzle Basement.
That's really the saddest part of this movie. The "disguises" suck and most of them are cheap impersonations, untimely or completely random and have nothing to do with the scene they're in. It's almost Seltzer/Friedbergian, really. Here's a list of some of the things you can see Dana Carvey dressed as:
- Abraham Lincoln (dancing to Reel 2 Real's "I Like to Move It")
- A pigtailed schoolgirl
- Literal cow poop
- Prince Lalijama of the Ringidingi Heights (an Indian snake charmer)
- Turtle man
- Gammy Num Nums (an old ginger lady)
- Tony Montana
- Quint from JAWS
- Cherry Pie (the dessert kind, not the Warrant kind)
- George W. Bush
- Groucho Marx
- Bob Ross
- Russell Crowe from GLADIATOR
- Forrest Gump (but only the bearded, running version)
As the film concluded and James Brolin, disguised as Data from "Star Trek: The Next Generation," chased Dana Carvey up the Apollo Lunar Module with underwear on his head, I began to legitimately hate myself for watching this. And it would just…not…end. They play what are clearly deleted scenes during the credits (including one where Carvey chases a random slapping midget) and then after those are over you're still subjected to more "bonus" scenes that are equally excruciating and pointless. (The grandfather was also the dog the whole time?!) THE LORD OF THE RINGS earned its drawn out conclusion. MASTER OF DISGUISE…not so much.
Everyone and their mom does an embarrassingly bad Scarface accent once in a while. Apparently, so does Dana Carvey.
1) Some of Carvey's most ridiculous disguises. Okay, so El Capitan Americano is technically from a deleted scene, but it's so bad I had to include it.
2) Brent Spiner farts a lot at inopportune times. Here they are.
Jennifer Esposito is hot, but clothed.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Dana Carvey changes disguise
- Someone gets slapped
- Someone farts
- There's racism
Double shot if:
- A child is hurt