Most kids’ movies stink. That goes double times infinity for the studio executives and filmmakers who seem to believe you must act like a kid to appeal to one. They think that by making a movie with an “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” first- grade mentality, first-graders will love it.
This is why we end up with movies like The Master of Disguise. The latest in a long line of stinkers before it, Master of Disguise is a shoddy, slapdash piece of regurgitated formula that carelessly races through its blink-of-an-eye running time.
The movie strives to be nothing more than mere distraction, and it barely succeeds. Zero effort seems to have gone into the writing, which – in the most unimaginative way possible – tells the story of a family who can magically disguise themselves as anyone. Though it’s admittedly just a high-concept excuse for Dana Carvey to do impressions, a few signs of life from the filmmakers would have been nice.
And yet one person seems to be trying here. Dana Carvey, who is a talented comedian ever-stranded in middling projects, struggles for laughs at every turn, and his different impressions and personas vary wildly from hilarious (the Turtle guy) to amusing (Robert Shaw from Jaws) to downright irritating (the main character, Pistachio).
The fact that some of the impressions reference adult movies from the ’70s, though, like Scarface and Jaws, does make Master of Disguise a bit of an anomaly in the world of children’s movies. Instead of pandering to only kids or managing to entertain all ages, Master of Disguise systematically flip-flops back and forth, at one moment lampooning a classic film, and in the next moment putting cow poop on Dana Carvey’s head.