The Master of Disguise

The Master of Disguise is a 2002 American adventure comedy film directed by Perry Andelin Blake and written by Dana Carvey and Harris Goldberg. Starring Carvey, Jennifer Esposito, Harold Gould, James Brolin, and Brent Spiner, the film was produced by Carvey's Saturday Night Live alumnus Adam Sandler through his Happy Madison production company.

The Master of Disguise
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPerry Andelin Blake
Produced by
Written by
Story byDana Carvey
Narrated byHarold Gould
Music byMarc Ellis
CinematographyPeter Lyons Collister
Edited by
  • Peck Prior
  • Sandy Solowitz
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[1]
Release date
  • August 2, 2002 (2002-08-02)
Running time
80 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$16 million[2]
Box office$43.4 million[2]

The film grossed $43.4 million.[2] The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes calls it an "irritating, witless farce",[3] and it has appeared on several lists of the worst films ever made. It was nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Fart in a Movie.


In 1979 Palermo, Italy, Fabbrizio Disguisey, the latest in a long line of secret agents known as "Masters of Disguise", breaks up a smuggling ring run by the evil Devlin Bowman while disguised as Bo Derek. Not wanting his infant son Pistachio to receive the same dangerous future lifestyle as he and his lineage, Fabbrizio decides to keep his family's nature a secret.

In the present, Fabbrizio runs an Italian restaurant in America with his wife and Pistachio. Bowman, fresh out of jail after twenty years, kidnaps Fabbrizio and "Mama", forcing Fabbrizio to use his talents to steal legendary artifacts around the world to reestablish Bowman's smuggling ring. After Fabbrizio's disappearance, Pistachio is visited by his grandfather, who reveals Pistachio's heritage and begins training him.

Pistachio gets the basics down and his grandfather gets him an assistant, Jennifer Baker, who is a little confused about what the job entails. The two find one of Bowman's cigars in the alley where his parents were kidnapped that leads them to the "Turtle Club" where it was made and they learn of Bowman's scheme, as well as that he will be at an antiques fair the next day.

Pistachio and Jennifer go to the fair, with Pistachio disguised as an elderly woman. Bowman invites Jennifer to a party at his house. Pistachio goes to the party in disguise and distracts Bowman while Jennifer looks for clues.

That night, Pistachio and Jennifer look through the clues. Bowman's men kidnap Jennifer, so Pistachio talks to his grandfather via a crystal ball and comes up with a scheme to break into Bowman's lair to rescue Jennifer and his parents. They confront Bowman who has attached a mask of his own face to Fabbrizio's head. While the real Bowman escapes, Pistachio fights his father, who is brainwashed to think he is Bowman.

In the end, Pistachio helps his father snap out his trance, they free Mama, return the artifacts, Pistachio marries Jennifer and becomes an official Master of Disguise. However, they eventually realize that Bowman still got away and has the United States Constitution with him. The Disguiseys locate Bowman in Costa Rica, defeat him and retrieve the Constitution.


Celebrities as themselvesEdit


The Master of Disguise was granted a PG certificate by the British Board of Film Classification for "mild language and mild comic violence". However, to obtain the PG certificate, seven seconds of material was cut, the reasons being "dangerous imitable technique, a series of head butts".[4]

Box officeEdit

The film opened in Australia on July 31, 2002, in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2003, and in the United States on August 2, 2002 in 2,565 theaters and earned $12,554,650 in the domestic box office, ranking third for the weekend, behind Signs and the second weekend of Austin Powers in Goldmember.[5] The film closed on November 28, 2002, having grossed $40,388,794 domestically and $3,022,207 internationally for a worldwide total of $43,411,001.[2] When the film was released in the United Kingdom, it originally opened at #14, before falling out of the charts completely by the next weekend.[6][7]

Critical receptionEdit

Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film as the 18th worst of the 2000s.[citation needed] It has a 1% rating based on 104 reviews and a 2.3/10 average. Its consensus reads: "An ill conceived attempt to utilize Dana Carvey's talent for mimicry, The Master of Disguise is an irritating, witless farce weighted down by sophomoric gags."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a 12 out of 100 score based on 24 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[9]

Roger Ebert, awarding the film a rating of one star out of four, reserved some praise for director Perry Andelin Blake's production design, as well as for Carvey's imitative abilities, but saw the overall movie as being "like a party guest who thinks he is funny and is wrong". Ebert also noted that the film is only 65 minutes long, but includes 15 minutes of credit cookies in order to qualify as a feature presentation.[10] Jamie Russell at the BBC described the film as being so bad as to make other movies such as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo seem like comic equivalents to Citizen Kane: "Never have so many jokes clunked off the screen to such a silent audience. And never has 80 minutes seemed like such an eternity."[11]

Peter Bradshaw, writing for The Guardian, awarded the film two stars out of five, citing a limited number of amusing moments, but criticizing Carvey's characterizations and suggesting to the potential audience member that "you might want to put the shotgun in your mouth".[12] Adam Smith in the Radio Times drew attention to the "lame screenplay" and "barely coherent plot", and noted that "when the nearest thing to a genuine joke is the bad guy's propensity for breaking wind whenever he laughs, you can be pretty sure that you're not in the hands of comedy geniuses".[13]

Alan Morrison, writing for Empire, suggested that it was no more than a feeble imitation of the character comedy of the Austin Powers series, concluding that The Master of Disguise was the single worst movie ever made: "a film about idiots, made by idiots, for idiots".[14]


Bo Derek's cameo in the film earned her a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress, but lost to Madonna in Die Another Day.[citation needed]

At the 2002 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, the film was nominated for Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Male Fake Accent - the latter two regarding Carvey. Its only win was a tie with Kung Pow: Enter the Fist for Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy.[15]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on VHS and DVD on January 28, 2003.


The Master of Disguise: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedJuly 23, 2002
LabelMusic World, Sony
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [17]
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording artistLength
1."M.A.S.T.E.R., Pt. 2" (featuring Lil' Fizz from B2K)Bryan Bonwell / Marques Houston / Jerome Jones / Kelton Kessee / Tony OliverPlay2:56
2."Fun"Rose Falcon / Billy FalconRose Falcon2:55
3."Happy Face"Beyoncé Knowles / Michael Cooper / Rob Fusari / Calvin Gaines / Falonte MooreDestiny's Child4:18
4."Eenie Meenie Minie Mo"Brian Adams / Teron Beal / Eddie Berkeley / Keir GistStrong3:22
5."Walking on Sunshine"Kimberley RewVal-C2:49
6."Master of Disguise"Colleen Fitzpatrick / Jimmy HarryVitamin C3:00
7."Double Dutch Bus"Frankie SmithDevin Vasquez3:21
8."Conga"Enrique GarcíaMiami Sound Machine4:14
9."This Could Be Love"Troy Johnson / Solange KnowlesSolange Knowles4:02
10."Cherry Pie"Marques Houston / Jerome JonesJhené Aiko3:07
11."M.A.S.T.E.R., Pt. 1" (featuring Play)Bryan BonwellHardhedz / Hardhedzz4:16
Total length:38:20


  1. ^ a b c d "The Master of Disguise (2002)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Master of Disguise (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. November 29, 2002. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Master of Disguise". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "THE MASTER OF DISGUISE (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. October 10, 2002. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for August 2-4, 2002". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. August 5, 2002. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  6. ^ "Weekend box office 17th January 2003 - 19th January 2003". Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  7. ^ "Weekend box office 24th January 2003 - 26th January 2003". Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "The Master of Disguise". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Master of Disguise". Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  10. ^ "The Master Of Disguise". August 2, 2002.
  11. ^ "The Master of Disguise (2003)". BBC. January 13, 2003.
  12. ^ "The Master of Disguise". The Guardian. January 17, 2003.
  13. ^ "The Master Of Disguise". Radio Times. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  14. ^ "The Master Of Disguise Review". Empire. October 14, 2015.
  15. ^ "Past Winners Database". The Envelope at LA Times. Archived from the original on August 15, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Master of Disguise (2002)". The Moviemusic Store. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  17. ^ "The Master of Disguise - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 28, 2017.

External linksEdit