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The Master of Disguise

By Richard Gorelick | Posted

Dana Carvey's comeback vehicle is a slovenly compendium of numberless boners, chief among them making Carvey's character, Pistachio Disguisey, such a cluck. Waitering at his parents' restaurant, the dimwitted Pistachio has, à la Harry Potter, grown up the unknowing legatee of awesome supernormal talents, in his case the ability to speak in offensive foreign dialects while wearing latex masks. When Pistachio's parents (James Brolin and Edie McClurg) are kidnapped by flatulent madman Devlin Bowman (Brent Spiner), the Disguisey patriarch (Harold Gould) puts his grandson through monotonous slapstick training and hires single mom Jennifer (Jennifer Esposito) to be Pistachio's indulgent assistant. Meanwhile, Bowman is forcing Papa to steal America's most iconic icons (the Liberty Bell, the Constitution) by having him impersonate low-rent celebrities (all playing themselves) like Jesse Ventura and Jessica Simpson. The cheap-celeb ploy, perversely, prevents Carvey (who also co-wrote) from taking on a wider assortment of characters, which surely should have been the point. Or maybe not; the star's least funny characterizations (e.g., a fur-chested creep) seem to hang around the longest. Only during the movie's closing-credit outtake reel does The Master of Disguise achieve the nimble sunniness that could have made Carvey's return a refreshing summertime treat.

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