The Master of Disguise
|The Master of Disguise|
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Perry Andelin Blake|
|Produced by||Barry Bernardi
|Written by||Dana Carvey
|Narrated by||Harold Gould|
|Music by||Marc Ellis|
|Cinematography||Peter Lyons Collister|
|Editing by||Peck Prior
Happy Madison Productions
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||79 minutes|
The Master of Disguise is a 2002 comedy film starring Dana Carvey, Jennifer Esposito, Harold Gould, James Brolin, and Brent Spiner. Adam Sandler produced The Master of Disguise through his Happy Madison production company. Though successful at the box office, the film was universally panned by critics, scoring a rating of just 1% on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and ever since has been considered one of the worst films of all time.
In Palermo, Italy in 1979, Fabbrizio Disguisey, the latest in a long line of Italian secret agents known as "Masters of Disguise", barely avoids getting caught while breaking up a smuggling ring run by the evil Devlin Bowman while disguised as Bo Derek. Bowman goes to jail and Fabbrizio decides it best to keep his family's identity a secret from his infant son, Pistachio.
Twenty-three years later, Fabbrizio runs an Italian restaurant in America with his unnamed wife and Pistachio working as, respectively, the cook and a waiter. Thanks to his yet-untold family heritage, Pistachio has a tendency to mock people at random, doing perfect but annoying and badly timed impersonations. He's also looking for a wife that has a large rear like his mother, but his nerdy demeanor makes him unlikeable to women, as well as a target for bullies, like fellow waiter Rex.
One night, Devlin Bowman, fresh out of jail, kidnaps Fabbrizio and "Mama", forcing the former to use his Disguisey powers to steal legendary artifacts like the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Bell, and the Apollo 11 Lunar Module while disguised as Michael Johnson, Jesse Ventura, and Jessica Simpson while also threatening to harm his wife, who is brainwashed to not notice anything. Meanwhile, Pistachio is visited by his unnamed grandfather, who reveals Pistachio's heritage and begins training him in the ways of becoming a Master of Disguise.
Eventually, Pistachio gets the basics of the Disguisey way down and his grandfather gets him an assistant, the gorgeous Jennifer Baker while he has bonded with her son Barney who is trying to learn how to ride a skateboard and becomes attached to Pistachio's dog The Cuteness, and who is a little confused about what the job entails. The two search the area where Fabbrizio was kidnapped and find one of Bowman's cigars, which is emblazoned with the symbol of the "Turtle Club". Pistachio disguises himself as a man who dresses and acts like a turtle and ends up embarrassing himself and Jennifer. They manage to learn Bowman's name and scheme, as well as that he'll be at an antiques fair the next day.
Pistachio and Jennifer go to the fair, the former disguised as an elderly woman named Gammy Num-Nums. They meet Bowman, who invites Jennifer to a party at his house. Pistachio goes to the party disguised as Tony Montana and distracts Bowman while Jennifer looks for clues. Though she gets it, Pistachio causes so much trouble that he's forced to abandon Jennifer when Bowman sends his men after him. Pistachio loses the henchmen by disguising himself as shark-hunter Quint and a large cow pie.He uses other disguises, like Bavarian tax agent Constable Mueller and British secret agent Terry Suave, to get Jennifer to safety.
That night, Pistachio and Jennifer look through the clues at a local restaurant, and they deduce that Bowman has forced Fabbrizio to go back to his disguising ways to steal the treasures for Bowman. While there, they find Jennifer's boyfriend Trent cheating on her by being out on a date with Pistachio's former love interest Sophia, who was also involved with Rex. Pistachio then ends up slapping him into submission, then leaving with the love-struck Jennifer.
Bowman's men kidnap Jennifer as soon as they arrive back at her home. Barney finds him talking with his grandfather via prerecorded hologram and a plan is formed. Pistachio, disguised as a cherry pie man breaks into Bowman's house to rescue Jennifer and his parents and stops the auction. But even after defeating Bowman's ninja army, Bowman has one final trick up his sleeve. He has attached a mask of his own face to Fabbrizio's head, making him appear to be Bowman. While the real Bowman escapes, Pistachio is forced to fight his father, who is brainwashed to believe he is Bowman. Grandfather soon arrives to witness Pistachio obtain his first victory.
In the end, Pistachio helps his father snap out his trance by showing off the old habit of putting his underwear on his head, they free "Mama", return the artifacts, Pistachio marries Jennifer, becomes Barney's stepfather and becomes an official Master of Disguise. However, there is one final thing to deal with — Bowman still has the Constitution. Luckily, the Disguiseys find him in Costa Rica. Disguised as George W. Bush, Pistachio, along with Fabbrizio and his grandfather (who disguised themselves as Bowman's henchmen) defeat Bowman once and for all and retrieve the Constitution.
Over the end credits, we see numerous out-takes, deleted scenes, musical numbers and the characters partying along to the soundtrack in between credits.
After the end credits finally end, while Pistachio is cleaning up his restaurant, he discovers that a dwarfed man who resembles Mario was in the slapping dummy the whole time. Then the dwarfed man chases him. The two have a conversation and say good-bye. Then so does The Cuteness who reveals himself to have been Pistachio's grandfather all along.
- Dana Carvey as Pistachio Disguisey
- Dane Morris as young Pistachio Disguisey
- Dylan and Cole Sprouse as young Pistachio Disguisey
- Jennifer Esposito as Jennifer Baker
- Harold Gould as Grandfather
- James Brolin as Fabbrizio Disguisey
- Brent Spiner as Devlin Bowman
- Austin Wolff as Barney Baker
- Erick Avari as Cigar maker
- Kenan Thompson as Kenan
- Maria Canals Barrera as Sophia
- Bruce Wagner as Rex
- Johnny Nguyen as Ninja
- Steven Ho as Ninja
- Naya Rivera (uncredited, deleted scene) as Captain America kid
- Celebrities as themselves
Despite being a success at the box office, the film received a nearly universally negative response. Many critics considered the plot sophomoric, compounding the fact that there were several disguises that would clearly not be recognized by youngsters (Tony Montana from Scarface, for example).
In March 2007, review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film as the 18th worst-reviewed of the 00's decade, with a 1% rating, and its consensus reading: "An ill-conceived attempt to utilize Dana Carvey's talent for mimicry, The Master of Disguise is an irritating, witless farce weighted down by sophomoric gags." On Metacritic the film scored 12 out of 100, indicating "Overwhelming Dislike". Comedian and former Mystery Science Theater 3000 host Michael J. Nelson named the film the third-worst comedy ever made. Toni Ruberto of Buffalo News stated: "It's a kid-friendly family film with lots of good old-fashioned laughs."
Awards and honors
- "The Master of Disguise". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Nelson, Michael J. (March 6, 2007). "Inoperable Humor: The 5 Worst Comedies of All Time". Cracked. Retrieved April 17, 2010.