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Master of Disguise

Sometimes Hollywood studios won’t show certain films to reviewers. It’s a kind of damage control. If critics don’t get an early peek at such nonstarters as Juwanna Man, The Crocodile Hunter, Like Mike or Scooby-Doo, they can’t spread the toxic word until after the opening weekend. Thank the gods, then, for trailers, which reveal glaring faults in just a few quick scenes that are meant to be seductive. Take Master of Disguise, the Dana Carvey comedy that Columbia Pictures kept from critics as long as possible. The trailer for the movie practically shouts, “Let the buyer beware!”

The talented Carvey, justly celebrated for his up-to-the-nanosecond mimicry on Saturday Night Live, has trapped himself in a musty time warp. As Italian waiter Pistachio Disguisey, descended from a spy family of master masqueraders, we see Carvey in a quick series of costumes: fat man, cherry pie, turtle. He even morphs into the Al Pacino of Scarface, a two-decade-old reference sure to draw appreciative chuckles from the kid audience for whom this PG-rated farce is intended. We even glimpse parodies of The Exorcist, Jaws and The Karate Kid. From the looks of the trailer, Master of Disguise could have been the most topical comedy of 1975.


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