The Master of Disguise (2002)
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Stealing much of its concept from `The Mask,' `The Master of Disguise' involves Carvey in some nonsense about a family of crime fighters who are able to magically don all sorts of disguises at a moment's notice. This allows the filmmakers to enlist the aid of a number of real life celebrities who end up making cameo appearances, in the misguided belief, most likely, that this was going to be a fun, entertaining movie comedy. Boy, were they misled. Actually, I have rarely seen a film in which the jokes, `bits' and setups fall as consistently flat as they do here. To get a general notion of the level of humor in this film, please note that the running gag involves one character's tendency towards uncontrollable flatulence. It isn't funny the first time it happens and, believe me, it is even less funny the fourth, fifth (or is it sixth?) time around.
In addition to the celebrity walk-ons (Bo Derek, Jesse Ventura, Paula Abdul, among others), Harold Gould, James Brolin, Jennifer Espinoto, Brent Spiner and Edie McClurg are all good sports who deserve better material than what they have been handed here. So is Carvey when you come right down to it. But then Carvey wrote the screenplay, so he HAS to be a good sport about it. After all, he handed HIMSELF this material. I hope the other actors trapped in this mess at least got paid well for their endeavors.
The only good news is that, in the closing credits, we get to see many of the scenes, lines and characters that were, apparently, filmed, then dropped from the final product. One can only imagine how much worse the film would have been had they all been allowed to stay in.
I tired to give it as much of a chance as possible because..you cannot believe everything you read from critics..and you cannot believe everything you hear.
With "the Master of Disguise", you can. This was awful. I don't really think they meant it to be awful, I mean the story sounded good, I'm sure...on paper..to a bunch of film executives who were drunk at the time they heard it. Then it probably got by a bunch of other folks in various forms of development who thought, "This could really be a silly little film that would catch on". But it wasn't and didn't.
In some other universe, I wish there was a better script to punch up the story but they relied too much on Dana's characters that were god-awful and unfunny. This movie was painful to watch -- painful to see talented people on film in a very untalented movie. Someone should have pulled the plug..ceased production for a decade..something..anything.
But here we are. This is a major pass..under any circumstance.
When I saw this film, everyone in the theater laughed the whole way through. This is a film that will completely go over your head if you try to intellectualize it. It's just good, dumb fun. It reminds me a bit of those really insane 60s comedies, except that it's for kids. I have a feeling that this film will come to be appreciated over time on video and tv.
Elements of the plot that attempt to keep the movie going for the first hour are immature and crude. It isn't suitable for young kids and adults have nothing to laugh at. Nothing is clever or creative. The movie is a sad jumble of wasted film. Unfortunate the Carvey submitted himself to such a production.
I loved Dana Carvey on SNL. He was funny, had great timing. He did a great job in the Wayne's World movies too. He worked great when his movies stayed within the 15-30 demographic.
Then he destroyed his career with the Master of Disguise.
This 'comedy' was so bad that it made me feel terrible just for watching it. I was embarrassed to be watching this movie in public. There's nothing funny about openly pitying an actor as you watch him force the run time to 80 minutes with jokes so flat they don't even register above the painfully boring dialog.
"Painful" is a good way to describe this movie. Nothing works. Sometimes you can't even tell when the jokes had happened. That's how bad they were. I watched this with my brother and found myself asking "was that supposed to be a joke?" I guess so, because it happened over and over again.
I don't find his fake Italian accent as annoying as many of the reviewers, but how the hell is repeating the word "turtle" over and over again while dressed in a turtle suit to get into a turtle club supposed to be funny, let alone plausible in the plot? Was everybody involved with the film consistently drunk as this was being made? Surely somebody must have said something like "Guys, this really sucks. Lets burn it and never speak of it again." I suggest anybody who accidentally came into possession of this bumbling nightmare do the same, to rid the world of its horrors forever.
It might seem odd of me to write a review of a movie that's roughly 15 yrs. old now, but I guess it's beca-- Oh, f#@$ I DON'T KNOW! I just saw Nostalgia Critic's video of this movie and THAT inspired me to check it out due to my morbid (and senseless) curiosity! I think I'm writing this review down just because it feels right, y'know? I have too much to say about this... thing.
ANYWAYS, this movie is awful. It made me cringe, roll my eyes, sigh, face-palm, and be consistently bored throughout the 80 minutes of sophomoric jokes. I usually don't base my opinion on someone else's or from a review site (like Rotten Tomatoes, though I do use it as a quick-guide) but most of the criticisms you've heard are spot-on. Here's a list of all the (main) problems I have:
1. The characters aren't likable, funny, charismatic, or memorable in the slightest. They always feel like cardboard cut-outs repeating poor dialogue.
2. The story is super thin. I know storytelling isn't focused very much in comedies, but if you're that one pretentious movie-fan that looks at ANYTHING as a piece of art, well... you're not going to be satisfied at all. Just saying.
3. The soundtrack just blares any early 2000s pop-song that was popular at the time, and it can be obnoxious. Sometimes they're played at inappropriate moments and in scenes that were MEANT to be funny. It feels extremely dated.
4. The sets look somewhat ugly. The colors are weirdly flat and over-saturated, so it's hard to look at this film without getting a cheap vibe from it.
5. The actors have nothing to work for. I like Dana Carvey's SNL impressions, but seeing him make a stupid grin with an irritating voice for 80 minutes hurts a part of my soul. Every other actor and random cameo (hey look, that's Bo Derek!) feel completely wasted because the script has nothing funny or interesting in their characters.
6. The script. I know I'm stretching the straw by now, but seeing scenes with no flow or consistency just to make a dumb joke irritates me for a reason I cannot fathom.
AND 7. The J O K E S ! They. Are. Not. Funny. Once. Look, I'm all for goofy and crude comedies IF DONE WELL. I have a special spot for Dumb and Dumber and even SpongeBob, because they knew what they wanted to be and embraced that self- awareness in an enjoyable way. Here, the writers seem to think that adding butt jokes, fart jokes, slapping someone repeatedly, and making silly faces is funny enough for undemanding audiences and nobody else. It's insulting. The jokes range from flat and awkward to cringey, childish, annoying, lazy, witless, and even tasteless! It's one of the most grating comedies I've seen in a GOOD LONG TIME simply because it didn't even give me a SMIRK across my face!
WHEW... That took a while to write. Maybe I was a little hard on those seven points I made. After all, it wasn't the worst film I've ever seen. But regardless...
TMOD sucks. Please don't watch it. If you're one of those TL;DR type of guys, then I'll say this: TMOD is stupid, joyless, unfunny, childish, rushed, grating, flat, and incredibly boring. Please don't waste your time on it. I urge you. Go read a book. Do your homework. Play some games, go outside, do chores, walk your dog, anything that doesn't involve watching this... thing.
This movie is awful. Its fast-paced for no reason, the plot is incoherent, and the jokes are bland and played out. I think this movie should have been named "Spy Kids" because the real Spy Kids makes this movie look infant.
Where to start...Where to start...Dana Carvey's Character, Pistachio Disguisey, is not a lovable character...You feel sorry for him. He has the mind of an eight-year-old and you can tell that from the beginning. And it boggles the mind that Jennifer Esposito's character...Named Jennifer could even fall in love with a moron like him. James Brolin might as well stick to his AAMCO commercials, because after his character gets kidnapped, James himself spends the a good part of the movie in the back seat of a car, not to mention his overly played Italian accent that sounds more like an Italian-American accent. And Brent Spiner, what were you thinking? His character, Devlin Bowman, is just a villain without a cause, or should I say a villain without a reason for his cause. His character wants to steal all the world's rarest items but instead, for what reason was not disclosed at all.
Master of Disguise is like connect the dots without dots...Its nothing to connect to. I wanted this movie to be funny, because I like Dana Carver, but it just wasn't... Sorry Dana.
To continue, I should say we had misgivings about seeing the film after the TV trailers that kept showing the "turtle" sequence, but decided that part was just silly fun and there's no way the rest of the movie could be so unclever and dumb. To our amazement, that was easily the most intelligent and serious part of the film! Think carefully before wasting your time with this one.. I score it a generous 3/10.
it was refreshing to see a PG comedy that wasn't centered around children. i really liked the gammy num nums disguise, and i wish they had been able to work the Mayor Maynot disguise in the movie along with the painting guy. thankfully they were both on the DVD.
i've watched it twice now, and will watch it again. dana talked (on a DVD featurette) about how he originally wanted to make a mission impossible type comedy with the master of disguise being part of the team, so maybe he'll go to back to that for a sequel; although, it seems unlikely since the first seems to be rather unpopular.
The result is a disjointed storyline that even the pre-pubescent target audience must have found confusing, if not down right annoying. Considering that this film was obviously meant for a much younger viewer than the previews would have you believe, I was shocked when at one point in the story, Pistachio is taught that it is wrong to strike someone with a closed fist, but perfectly acceptable to slap them with an open palm, a technique used heavily throughout the film.
Unless you are under the age of six, or just a die-hard Dana Carvey fan who can't miss a single one of his performances, I highly suggest you steer clear of this dog.