There’s no doubt why Dana Carvey hasn’t had much star power in the film industry. On Saturday Night Live, his 6 and a half season run was riddled with impersonations, making him a household name and nearly saving the sketch comedy show. But his skills just never translated well to the big screen. Possibly because he couldn’t do much else, compared to Bill Hader–another impression-centric SNL alum–who can do a very good job at being funny as a “normal person”.
But with Master of Disguise, one would think that Carvey had finally found a home. In fact, it’s a little too obvious that that’s the purpose of this project. It’s a story about a man who inherits powers of disguise. The men in his family are part of a secret organization that fights crime by being really good at disguising themselves as other people.
The problem is that the film is too lazily put together. It’s actually pretty well-conceived, but never tries too hard on the plot. You would think that a film about disguises would feature some really good plot twists. In fact, I was watching some deleted scenes, and a couple of them were much better than the ones that took their spots in the movie. And one actually contained a nice curveball.
Carvey is funny at times here, but he’s also given almost too long of a leash. Like he and the director just decided they’d let him improvise the whole time and wing it.
At 80 minutes, the movie is short. Almost too short. So it doesn’t wear out its welcome, but it also feels extremely rushed towards the end.
Regardless, the jokes made me laugh a few times. Just because I love Carvey and his goofiness. It’s great for kids. Lots of fun characters and silly slapstick. But even the adults who find themselves laughing will still admit that it’s very much below them.
Would I recommend Master of Disguise to anyone over the age of 12? Probably not. But it’s entertaining enough for me. I’ve seen much worse.