The Master of Disguise

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for mild language and some crude humor.

Reviewed by: James W. Huston

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens
Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 hr. 20 min.
Year of Release: 2002
USA Release:
Dana Carvey in “The Master of Disguise”
Featuring Dana Carvey, Jennifer Esposito, Harold Gould, James Brolin, Brent Spiner
Director Perry Andelin Blake
Producer Sid Ganis, Alex Siskin, Barry Bernardi, Todd Garner, Sidney Ganis, Adam Sandler
Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.
Columbia Pictures
, a division of Sony Pictures

“The Master of Disguise” is perhaps the worst movie I’ve seen in five years. While my eleven-year-old had heard it was hilarious and was excited to see the film, ratings I had read that listed content information appeared to be somewhat approving. But every minute I saw in the theater was one more where my regret for that decision surfaced even further. Admittedly, there were people in the theater laughing out loud, but I didn’t even crack a smile. Not once. “Master” was just so juvenile, silly, un-clever, un-creative, and even mildly offensive. The biggest laughs the movie receives are when one character farts continuously. (If that word offends you, and you wish I would use the much more acceptable word of “flatulence”, then you will surely want to skip this film.)

Our plot focuses on one Pistachio Disguisey (Carvey), a young man who belongs to a family that are Masters of Disguise. They can resemble virtually anyone: from Bo Derek, to Michael Johnson, to George Bush or whomever. Pistachio is called on to use his special skills to save his parents from kidnapping by a baddie who wants to steal all the valuable art and treasures in the world: the Mona Lisa, the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Bell, etc. You get the picture.

One keeps hoping that among the set scenes and disguises, one will be at least amusing. None of them are. And it just gets worse. Carvey’s fake Italian accent is nothing but annoying—throughout the entire film.

Am I getting to the point where juvenile humor just doesn’t work for me? Did the intended adolescent audience even appreciate Carvey’s attempt at humor? With a poorly conceived and sadly executed script, “The Master of Disguise” is among the comedies that don’t work.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I found this movie to be funny, fun, light-hearted, cute, and entertaining. If you are a kid or a kid at heart (as I am), you will enjoy this one. I laughed out loud on several occasions, and I left the theater with a good feeling. My husband went to the theater with no expectations, and we left glad that we had given “Master of Disguise” a try. And, no, we didn’t go just because of the kids. We are both adults, and we don’t have any kids. We just enjoy seeing good, wholesome movies. If you are hard hearted or the type who doesn’t like goofy movies, you may not like it. But I personally enjoyed it tremendously!
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
Rena, age 37
Positive—I have always thought of Dana Carvey as a very talented comedian! His talents really show through in this film, and it is a pretty clean movie for kids. It has some bathroom humor that seems to be very popular in kid movies today, but it was not overly used! They could have done away with Dana’s characters fetish with backsides, but besides those concerns it was clean! It was quite silly at times, and my step-son seemed to really enjoy it. If you are not too anxious to see it you might as well wait for the DVD to come out.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 2½]
Carey Couvillon, age 28
Negative—I would have to agree that this was the worst movie I have seen in years. This movie is not worth seeing. We should be proud of our gifts and talents, and fact that the characters were using their talents for the greater good was the only thing close to redeeming in this movie.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
Steve Roberts, age 37
Negative—I didn’t realize there was anything “Mystical” about this movie until I saw it. When Dana’s parents disappear, his Grandfather, whom he hasn’t seen in 23 years, appears at the door to train him as a Master. The Disguise family uses a chant to bind the disguise to themselves, which is: “become a different person.”

When they have effectively done this chant they can tap into an energy source that will give them knowledge to make their disguise more convincing. The family symbol is a pyramid with an eye in the center, symbols and roman numerals around the pyramid. This symbol appears in the open credits of the movie, on the Grandfathers bathrobe, the family book and flips across the screen for scene changes. Each Master is suppose to have a “Nest.” I can stand some silliness in a movie but didn’t appreciate the mystical content.
My Ratings: [Average / 1½]
Beth Thompson, age 37
Negative—This movie might appeal weakly to the 12 and under crowd. My kids (9 and 11), my mother-in-law and I went to see this movie together. I had read the review clips on this site just before we went and was a little worried about paying matinee prices for it! My worry was justified. I laughed a few times during the movie, but it was mainly due to the absurdity of the moment. My kids laughed more, but it was by no means what the previews led us to believe. As far as morality and Christian issues go, the movie doesn’t really go into either one very deeply.

The female lead dresses rather provocatively throughout the movie. She is a single mother, but that issue is never addressed. Dana Carvey does a good job of doing impressions and is never really offensive, but never really gets to take it very far and some of the things he does are just ridiculous. The one positive thing about his character is just how nice a guy he is overall.

James Brolin never really gets a chance to act and Brent Spiner (the bad guy) just comes across as shallow and stupid; the writer really over-worked the laughing joke. The plot was shallow, the jokes were dumb and I very much wanted to stand outside and tell other people not to waste their good money (and I don’t usually feel that strongly against movies)! My mother-in-law basically felt the same way. The kids both thought the movie was “pretty good,” but they both agreed it wasn’t “great”. Overall, I’d have to say it might not eve be worth renting at full price when it comes out at the movie store.
My Ratings: [Good / 2½]
J. Sawers, age 36
Movie Critics
…a dreadful, tedious, amateurish farce about a guy with a bad Italian accent and a gift for unfunny impressions…
Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic
…a lame idea lamely executed. Carvey has done some funny impersonations before… but none of them show up here…
Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun
…Language consists of a minor expletive, while various colorful phrases are also heard…[some] cleavage…
Comments from young people
Positive—Well, I don’t care what the other reviews say, My parents went on a date to see it and enjoyed it a lot, then my 11 year old sister went to see in and I still can’t get her to be quiet about it.(she really really loved it and thought it was incredibly funny) the reviewer makes everything he writes seem like fact.

The truth is, its his opinion. Sure, maybe he didn’t like it, but other people might. Dana Carvey made this movie so that his kids could watch one of his movies, unlike Wayne’s World … etc. That proves that it is MEANT to be a kind of silly and kiddish movie, right? As long as the kids laugh and there isn’t much objectionable, I think the goal of the movie was reached.

My opinion is that if you are looking for a movie to see just you, or perhaps with a boyfriend or something you might wanna see something else, but if u are looking for a movie to enjoy the kids with during the summer or whenever, this one may tickle their funny-bones.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
Michelle, age 14
Positive—I went to see the movie with a friend and my parents, and we all four really liked it. Dana Carvey is so amazing when he does his impressions of people. He is a really talented man. A word of warning though. The commercials make it look really funny. It is funny, but not as much as the commercials make it out to be.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
Katie, age 15
Neutral—I went to this movie with my family, some of it was funny, and some of it was slightly entertaining, but overall it was one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen, it had no moral values, a (if you look really really hard) plot, the acting was okay, it was way unrealistic, but the dog riding the skate board was cute:) If your in the mood to laugh for 15 min, spend the rest of your time bored to death, and your about 8, this is the movie for you:)
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 2]
Claire, age 16
Negative—the movie was terrible me and my friends left because it was so boring I didn’t get the dumb movie.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
Crystal, age 13
Positive—I went to see this movie with my friend. We were bored and were looking for something to do. This movie was very funny. I wasn’t disappointed. There wasn’t any bad language I recall, and I don’t really think there was anything too objectionable. I would recommend this movie for anyone looking for something funny to watch.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
Nadia, age 14
Neutral—This movie was, okay, but the whole plot was very stupid. What I mean is that, Pistachio (Carvey) was very offensive. Especially when he was with “Jennifer” outside her apartment having a very interesting conversation. And many other things. I suggest that this movie be rated PG-13. This movie is not a funny comedy. It’s very offensive and may be scary for young children.
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
Grace, age 12
Neutral—I thought this movie wasn’t really going to be all that great. But, it was really good. There was any language that I remember. No rude comments that I remember. But I think the movie may have been better if it were longer. But, it’s a good movie to see on a rainy day.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
Anna, age 12