The Master of Disguise

Why The Master of Disguise should be on your guilty pleasure watch list:

Released in 2002. A family friendly comedy written by Dana Carvey & Harris Goldberg. Directed by Perry Andelin Blake. Starring Dana Carvey & Jennifer Esposito. Running time 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Pistachio’s (Dana Carvey) parents get kidnapped by criminal mastermind Devlin Bowman (Brent Spiner). Pistachio is then visited by his grandfather who trains him to become a Master of Disguise in order to infiltrate Devlin’s lair to free his parents.

What I like:

“I’m going to be a master of disguise. I’m going to be a master of disguise.” and “This is what you’re doing, this is what I want you to do.” Just a couple of my favorite quotes from this film I use in my everyday life. When I can get away with it of course, haha. You’ll need the visual for the second quote for true effectiveness in delivery. But I caution you: ONLY use it with people with whom you are on good terms and who will laugh WITH you. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble.

Pistachio’s somewhat dim-witted persona mixed with the plethora of disguises he uses to track his parents down makes this film cute and fun to watch. The disguises are spot on with Dana Carvey as he embodies the characters he uses like Scarface, Quint from Jaws, and the turtle; while James Brolin’s disguises are done in a creative way to allow for star cameos like Jessica Simpson, Bo Derek, and Jesse Ventura. Think elaborate masks being pulled off to reveal a completely different person. I really liked how obvious it was with the reveals like when Jessica Simpson or Bo Derek is revealed to be Fabbrizio Disguisey (James Brolin).

The characters are fully fleshed out and, while stereotypes abound, they are done more like caricatures than “real” people. The Italian girl with a big bottom, for instance. The set detail of the locations, the richness of the secret Disguisey training attic, the costuming for each spoofed character, and complex writing weaving all these impersonations into a plot line that makes sense from start to finish with the usual good guy gets the bad guy, rescues his parents, and the girl falls in love with him. The writers and director kept the spoofed bits from being too long keeping the pacing of the film on track with the story line.

What I wish was better

Yeah, I know I said the team did a great job keeping the bits down and the plot moving…EXCEPT for the laughing ending with a fart bit the villain is plagued with. The first few times were funny and then old. Maybe it would never get old for the younger viewer but it got old for me.

Final Thoughts

The Master of Disguise is silly and over the top. What I love about this film is the wacky goofiness, the spot on impersonations, the silly dialogue, and premise. I can enjoy the over the top element without my brain picking it apart as I’m watching it. I consider The Master of Disguise as a guilty pleasure film for me. It’s the perfect vehicle for Dana Carvey’s talent for comedic impersonations and Jennifer Esposito is perfect as his scene partner; although, I don’t know how she kept a straight face while filming. Jennifer keeps the story’s feet on the ground and balances Pistachio’s zany behavior perfectly throughout the film.

I recommend The Master of Disguise for a fun 2 hour release from the craziness of the world. I give this film 4.5 out of 5! Watch the trailer below for a taste 🙂


This film got bad reviews when it came out. Dana Carvey made the film because most of his films weren’t family family and he wanted something his kids could watch. DAna Carvey played the drums as his Turtle character in the end credits. Oh, and Jim Carrey was considered for Pistachio Disguisey.

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