The Master of Disguise (2002) / Comedy-Adventure
MPAA Rated: PG for mild language and crude humor
Running Time: 80 min.
Cast: Dana Carvey, Jennifer Esposito, Brent Spiner, James Brolin, Harold Gould, Austin Wolff, Edie McClurg, Maria Canals
Director: Perry Andelin Blake
Screenplay: Dana Carvey, Harris Goldberg
Review published October 8, 2003
The plot: Carvey is Pistachio Disguisey (HAHA!) an Italian with the ability to mimic all those around him, which is a trait the Disguisey family has apparently had for countless generations. A powerful mastermind has forced Pistachio's father (Brolin, The Amityville Horror) to do his bidding, leaving him on a quest to become his own master of disguise, and take down the dreaded fiend, Devlin Bowman (Spiner, Star Trek: Insurrection), once and for all.
I had the misfortune of watching The Master of Disguise shortly after going through some major dental work. It was not a good day. A mere few hours after getting some root canal work, there I was, subjecting myself to even more pain, and what's worse, voluntarily inflicted. While the movie rolled by, it became clear early on that I would have a great deal of time to ponder life and my role in it, as any amount of random thoughts going through my head proved to be far more entertaining than anything going on on-screen. It occurred to me that the experience of watching The Master of Disguise was astonishingly similar to my visit to the dentist. At least my dentist apologized afterward for his bad jokes.
Both experiences required me to be sitting relatively immobile in a chair for about ninety minutes, subjected to unpleasant feelings and a desire to just get things over with. The root canal required me to keep my mouth open for most of the procedure, while subconsciously my mouth was agape during much of MOD, as it was so abominably bereft of comedy, I could do little else but gaze in astonishment. My dentist is also of the opinion that he is some sort of comedian, subjecting me to some of the worst puns and quips as he worked, while I could do little else but listen. Apparently, Dana Carvey is also under the impression that he's just naturally funny, spouting off horrible jokes and juvenile sight gags, and I couldn't get him to stop, not matter how much I wished it.
They both involved a certain amount of pain, the root canal being physical while the film was just mental. I suppose I could have given myself an "anesthetic", in the form of lots and lots of alcohol before watching the movie, but unfortunately, I took the full brunt of every painful comic procedure Carvey tried to dish out. Even if I closed my eyes, the dentist's office echoed with some bad easy listening tunes, making me wish he'd drill some more, just to drown out the sounds. No such luck with The Master of Disguise, as it constantly subjected me to some of the worst songs ever to be compiled for a soundtrack, and I still can't get one of them out of my head as I type this...aargh!!
Probably the only thing that makes The Master of Disguise better than getting a root canal is that it is about $2500 cheaper. If there's anything you can take away from my review, it's this: save yourself the pain by brushing and flossing after every meal, while also staying away from any film in which Dana Carvey stars. The fact that people still see him as a funny comedian is perhaps the most convincing disguise of all.
©2003 Vince Leo