The Temp (1993)
Director: Tom Holland
Lara Flynn Boyle/Kris
Greasy haired exec Peter (Hutton) works for a cookie company and he really wants that VP position. When his male secretary bails on him (good riddance), he gets a new sexy secretary (a temp played by Boyle) who redefines the word efficient. And that’s when his world begins to crumble. You see, his co-workers are dropping dead around him and conveniently enough, his temp is climbing the corporate ladder in consequence. Peter suspects that his new assistant might be doing more than just taking down memos and investigates the ordeal. Think murder…you heard me I said MURDER!
"The Temp" got sodomised by the critics upon its theatrical release and they didn’t even use any lubricant. How rude! The script is flawed up the wazoo, there's no doubt about that, but being the a-hole that I am, I still found mucho stuff to dig here and I was surprisingly mucho entertained the whole way.
What saves this gal from being a massive waste of time is definitely her engaging nature, her quick pace, her tight directing and most importantly her cheap laughs/thrills. I think that a lot of folks sometimes forget about one crucial element when they watch a movie: Fun (noun)- What provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically: playful often boisterous action or speech. "The Temp" delivered just that and then some. If it wasn’t the satirical approach to the corporate world that put a smile on my face (it takes place in the cookie business of all places), then it was the periodic very funny lines, the silly but suspenseful bits or Timothy Hutton and Faye Dunaway blowing up in fits of overacting.
Sure the film jerks us around, it plays that whole “did she or didn't she?” game the whole way and never really gives us a satisfying answer. And when it's not overdoing that trick, it goes the “is Peter going crazy paranoid (he has a history) or isn’t he?” instead. But call me a gimp, because I really enjoyed being teased by this damn movie. I knew it wasn’t playing fair, I knew the script wasn’t up to par in regards to the games that it was slapping my way, but goddamn it, I still lapped up every second of it. I somehow didn’t feel that my intelligence was being insulted and just rolled with it. I’m sure this wasn’t intentional but I felt like the people behind the picture knew the script was sub-par and willingly invited us to not only laugh with it, but also laugh at it.
On the downside, I did have trouble digesting the overly serious ex-wife subplot. It kind of killed the flow of the action and more importantly bored the shite out of me. I also got frustrated with some of the editing, especially during the last 20 minutes. The chain of events got a tad blurry there. I smell studio interference. And last but not least, even thought the film’s plot holes didn’t annoy me as much as they should have, I didn’t like the film’s tendency of not following through with some of its established subplots. I had lots of questions when the credits rolled. Like what was wrong with the cookies? Who was checking Peter’s messages? Why didn’t Peter change his bank code? Who tinkered with the brakes and why? How did Kris manage to make all those accidents happen? Was Brad involved in any of this or not? How did Peter NOT notice that the picture of him and his estranged was missing? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But overall, I should be beat to a bloody pulp with a bat for admitting this but I had a blast with this silly, sexy gal. She’s a ride man, that’s all she is. We get a tight pace, kool tension-filled scenes (shredding machine…nice) and entertaining leads. Put your brain on pause, zip down and enjoy the tongue action. She’s so bad and yet so good….
Not much of that stuff but we do get some groovy blood splashes, a nice hanging, a bloated face, a light stabbing and some lead pipe hits to the head. It’s all right.
I love Timothy Hutton (Peter) and I still don’t get why he never hit the big-time while dudes like Kevin Costner did. Here, Timmy does the best that he can, definitely overacts on some occasions, but it's fairly funny and it works with the vibe of the flick. And yes, the man’s hair rocks no matter how greasy it is. Lara Flynn Boyle (Kris) sports some really bad perms but her body, devilish smile and focus made up for it. Faye Dunaway (Charlene) parodies the role which she portrayed in “Network” and gobbles the scenery every chance that she gets. She did annoy me at times but overall, she came through. Oliver Platt (Jack) plays an a-hole...and he’s great at playing a-holes. Steven Weber (Brad) plays the loveable jerk very well, there’s something appealing about the man and I don’t mean his ass.
T & A
It’s all about Timmy Hutton in the buff. See him in a bathing suit showing off his hairy chest; see him in a towel showing off…well, his hairy chest again. The ladies will foam, gay men will swoon but us straight boys will still be wondering why Lara didn’t strip down once during the entire duration of the flick. The best that we get is a cleavage and bikini shot…far from wood-inspiring.
I loved Holland’s energy, every flick he does no matter how weak the script, is always on the move. "The Temp" is no exception. The flick displays its dumbarse shenanigans in tight and creative ways. I loved some of the shot compositions and really appreciated the moments of high tension (the shredding machine part had me by the balls).
The score is adequate but far from memorable.
IMAGE: The Widescreen image (enhanced for 16.9 TV) is very sharp overall and sports striking color tones. I did spot some white spots early on in the film though.
SOUND: The English 5.1 Surround and English Dolby Surround supports the film well. The dialogue is clear and the soundtrack is at an appropriate level. We also get a French Stereo Track.
EXTRAS: We get jack shit. Not even a trailer!!! Somebody is slacking off. YOU’RE FIRED! WHERE'S MY TEMP???
"The Temp" is very similar to the women in my life. There are some who I frequent for intelligent conversation and others who I hit for that pleasurable stress reliever. "The Temp" is all about headjobs; if you’re thinking of marrying this lady, think again, she’ll spit out stupid children and make your mommy mad, but if it's an enthusiastic, pleasurable quickie that you’re looking for, give the gal a ring-a-ling, she’ll put a smile on your horny face and you might just re-visit her again. I know I did.
The flick was shot in Oregon, USA.
I heard that Paramount got quite in the way of the director’s vision on this picture…no surprise there.
Tim Hutton won a best supporting Oscar for Ordinary People (1980).