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The Master of Disguise

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
The Master of Disguise

from Film Forum, 08/08/02

Perhaps tired of arguing over debatable films, critics unanimously condemned the new Dana Carvey comedy The Master of Disguise. Carvey, a gifted impressionist and one of the funniest talents ever to star on TV's Saturday Night Live, seems to have taken a major misstep in playing Pistachio Disguisi, the hero of the title.

But Paul Bicking (Preview) calls it a "truly 'family' show. With a warning about some flatulence humor and questionable symbols, The Master of Disguise can be enjoyed by ages six and older."

Perhaps it can be enjoyed by someone, somewhere, but you won't find many other critics who think this is likely. The USCCB critic says the movie "drags its feet with unfunny skits and an agonizingly slow and lifeless plot that makes the film's 80 or so minutes feel interminable." And Phil Boatwright says, "Mr. Carvey [is], like Jerry Lewis, very talented, but unable to tell the good scripts from the bad or the bad impersonations from the good. This film may be the worst of the year."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says that children might find a few reasons to "giggle," but he adds, "It's doubtful that a theater full of seven and eight year olds will pick up on the allusions to The Exorcist, 10, and Jaws. They may laugh at the big-bottomed women to whom Pistachio is attracted but it's a laugh that might make some parents a tad bit uncomfortable." Holly McClure (Crosswalk) testifies, "I took my 16-year-old son and 18-year-old nephew, who have enjoyed Carvey's previous work, and they thought this was a silly movie with only a few funny scenes."

Ebert sums up most critics' sentiments: "The movie is like a party guest who thinks he is funny and is wrong. [It's] a desperate miscalculation."