"Catch Me if you Can" is a story that's so crazy it has to be true and would work even if it was completely fictional. Leonardo Dicaprio is terrific as Frank Abagnale and convincingly plays the man from a teenager to well into his twenties. This might not sound impressive but to convey a change in age it's much easier to go with big changes (a man in his thirties to an old man for example) than to go with subtle tones in voice, posture and mannerisms. Dicaprio is completely convincing as a young man who starts off completely lost and at first wandering the world aimlessly but quickly becomes an expert con artist. Tom Hanks is also fantastic as Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent that is hell-bent on capturing Frank. He seems like a simple character at first, happily doing a job that most of his peers don't respect and acting like such a straight arrow that you don't think he has much personality but as the film progresses you really get to know him and genuinely like the guy. That means you have two people you find yourself cheering for and each of them takes, at times the role of protagonist and antagonist. It's always keeping you on your toes trying to figure out who is going to get the upper hand and how they're going to do it.
Christopher Walken also has a memorable role in the film as Frank's father (Frank Abagnale Sr.) and he does an excellent job adding some real humanity to the film with his father-son relationship as well as giving us a little hint as to how the character Frank got into his swindling ways. When it comes to the cons that Frank pulls of, the word "unbelievable" comes to mind, but director Steven Spielberg, armed with a great screenplay by Jeff Nathanson makes every trick convincing. You really believe that what you see on the screen happened because you can tell that the people that did these actions thought on their feet and acted quickly. There are many terrific moments that will really have you cheering but writing them down would spoil the surprises in the film. It's thoroughly satisfying to see Frank outsmart the authorities and keep getting away because you admire the guy. Anyone who has the guts to attempt to pass off as a pilot, purely to get free flights and paychecks out of it earns your admiration (even though you know what he's doing is wrong).
"Catch Me if you Can" works as a great period piece, a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse, a thriller with some great twists and a film about some really unlikely deep relationships, be they between men and women , a father and his son or two adversaries who's lives are linked together. It really puts you at odds knowing that this is a true story because on the one hand you want to know the whole story but on the other, the film is so well done that you don't want to take the chance that your favorite part of the film won't be the complete truth. It's a real triumph and you'll have a terrific time watching the film. (Dvd, May 10, 2013)
Pre-teens will probably have fun with "The Master of Disguise" but for everyone else it's a near-unwatchable and embarrassing experience. The humour in the film is what really kills it and makes it torturous to watch. It's not that there aren't any jokes that work(when you throw this many jokes at the screen there's got to be at least one or two things that stick) but you'll feel ashamed of yourself for giving even a second of laughter to this train wreck. The reason why this is firmly a "kids only movie" is because so many of the jokes are so incredibly juvenile. The name of our protagonist is "Pistachio Disguisey". Did that make you laugh? Because that's one of the first jokes we get. His name is "Disguisey" because he is going to be a master of disguise, get it? His character is defined by another series of jokes where we learn that he likes women with big butts. This preference is in the film so we can have jokes about big butts. No, there's nothing more to it than that, the fact that he likes big butts is the joke. He's also a bumbling idiot that's barely able to wait tables, speaks in broken English (although no one else in the family does) but in an attempt to make you like the director makes sure to include several scenes showing that he's a nice guy. The fact that he is nice is only in the film so you can have villains to contrast with his personality and because if it wasn't for the forced redemption scenes you would be cheering how him to get brutally murdered within a few minutes of meeting him.
Moving on from "Pistachio", we get an incredibly bland sidekick named "Jennifer" played by Jennifer Esposito. She is in the movie for two reasons: first so we can have a love plot at the end of the film (a cherry on top of the sundae when our hero defeats the villain) and second so we can showcase how nice "Pistachio" is when he confronts her boyfriend, a guy that's such a transparent jerk the movie only pretends he genuinely likes "Jennifer" for about 30 seconds before exposing him as a child-hating, lying and cheating bully. His character is taken straight out of a cartoon and is included because there is no way you would otherwise believe that the 29-year-old woman would fall in love with Dana Carvey, who was 47 when the movie was made. That's right, the man is nearly fifty but he is playing a na´ve, bumbling waiter that is still living with his parents. "Jennifer" has a son too, who is introduced early in the film and completely disappears until the very end and is only included so "Pistachio" can befriend him (while her boyfriend reveals that he hates children) but it seems incredibly creepy for the two to be friends considering the age difference. Our villainous mastermind is Devlin Bowman (played by Brent Spiner), who is focused not on taking over the world, but on stealing every valuable artifact in existence. His character might have felt like a genuine threat if it wasn't for the fact that he has an embarrassing gas problem to make the kiddies laugh.
So where do our abysmal characters land themselves? In a plot that is so thin it lasts 70 minutes (that's right, the short 80 minute running time is padded out with 10 minutes of credits and out-takes at the end) and is taken straight out of every generic spy film story ever made. The plot is simply an excuse for Dana Carvey to disguise himself in a series of outrageous characters including a horny old lady, "Tony Montoya" from "Scarface" (because children will delight in the pop culture reference?), a British Nerd, a suave secret agent, a racist stereotype of an indian snake-charmer, a patch of grass with cow dung for a face and a man covered in cherries (in a sequence that makes absolutely no sense). Although the makeup is pretty convincing, the film makes the crucial mistake of casting some celebrities in the film as "Pistachop's" father in disguise, which completely ruins one of the final jokes of the film: Dana Carvey disguised as President George W. Bush. The jokes include such gems as Dana Carvey commenting on the size of tiny appetizer wieners and nuts, outrageous dancing, references to jaws, "Pistachio" getting beaten up by a training dummy and a hologram that can interact with people and reacts to the "hilarious" events going on around it (despite the fact the movie explicitly explains to us that It's pre-recorded). The only thing that works in the movie is the technical aspect. The props, sets and costumes look good but everything else is total trash. Avoid "The Master of Disguise" unless your maturity level is on par with a 12-year-old and even then, just rent or go see a better movie. (Dvd, May 10, 2013)