Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Master of Disguise

posted by rkumar
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Nudity/Sex:Crude humor, including flatulence, vulgarity
Violence/Scariness:Comic peril, a lot of hitting
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2002
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Profanity: None
Nudity/Sex: Crude humor, including flatulence, vulgarity
Alcohol/Drugs: None
Violence/Scariness: Comic peril, a lot of hitting
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: 2002

This misbegotten mess of a movie is a terrible disappointment for fans of Dana Carvey. It is also a disappointment for fans of comedy and fans of movies.

It really is hard to imagine how the talented Carvey can have taken what sounded like a can’t-miss premise and missed so completely. Carvey’s genius for impressions is utterly wasted. So is his charm. So is his time. So is ours.

Carvey plays Pistachio Disguisey (are you laughing yet?), the youngest in a family with magical powers to transform themselves. His father (James Brolin) never told him of the family’s secret because he wanted to protect him. So little Pistachio does not know why he has a Tourette-like compulsion to imitate everyone he sees. When his parents are captured by bad guy Devlin Bowman (Brent Spiner), who suffers from intestinal distress whenever he tries his evil laugh (now are you laughing?), and it is up to Pistachio to save the day. Pistachio’s grandfather (Harold Gould) arrives to give him a few quick lessons in transformation and self-defense.

Weak references to classics like “The Exorcist,” “Star Wars,” “Jaws,” and “A Hard Day’s Night” will have no meaning to the kids who are the intended audience. The “Star Wars” references are more rip-off than satire; Disguiseys get their power from Energyco, so much like “the force” that it even has a dark side. Audience members old enough to recognize Jesse Ventura, Jessica Simpson, and Bo Derek might enjoy their brief cameos. But even at less than 70 minutes, the movie feels endless, with an extended post-credit sequence that just adds insult to injury.

Parents should know that the movie is too vulgar for a PG rating and too dumb for audiences of any age. Pistachio is fascinated with women who have large rear ends and he makes crude jokes when a character serves appetizers (“do you have a little wiener and tiny nuts?”). He disguises himself as a cow patty. And slapping an opponent while yelling “Who’s your daddy?” is supposedly a way of showing manliness and competence. Pistachio himself is a annoyingly disturbing character, an odd child-man with an inexplicable accent and an unforgivable haircut.

Families who see this movie should talk about how being able to imitate someone requires very careful observation.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy Jerry Lewis playing eight characters in The Family Jewels.

  • PMX

    This is one of the few times I must completely disagree with this review. I have 5 kids ages 2 to 12 & this has been one of the most replayed DVDs in our house. Eclipsing all “live action” movies. It is utterly ridiculous & therefore perfect for its target audience 4 to 9 year olds. The humor is on the crude side (isn’t a villian great who gases after he laughs), but even Pixar gets laughs from burps in every movie.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for posting, PMX! I am always happy when someone sees more in a movie than I do and I love it when my readers get to see a range of reactions, especially to a film I did not like. I very much appreciate your taking the time to write and hope you will comment again on the movies you and your family see.

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