Wednesday, April 22, 2009

'TEMP' INSANITY

In the crowded field of unintentionally funny thrillers vying for the title "Best Bad Movie from Hell" -- you know, Other Woman from Hell (Fatal Attraction), Nanny/Babysitter from Hell (The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, The Sitter), Nymphet/Houseguest from Hell (The Crush, Poison Ivy) -- the Secretary from Hell entry, THE TEMP, is a strong contender for the crown, thanks to a nonsensical script and a trio of awful star turns. If the prospect of two former Oscar winners -- greasy-haired Tim Hutton and lacquered-within-an-inch-of-her-life Faye Dunaway -- humiliating themselves doesn't make you race to your video store for a copy, then perhaps you'll succumb to the lure of seeing Lara Flynn Boyle crawl on the floor like Ann-Margret in Kitten With a Whip, in what seems like an attempt to prove for all time that she's the ultimate shooting starlet.

The fun begins when cookie company exec Hutton -- a recovering paranoid whose latent "Mr. Hyde" personality has already cost him his wife, son and house -- wows boss lady Dunaway with a new sales gimmick: market grandma-type cookies in old-fashioned-looking jars! Never mind that this mid-'70s concept ought to get him fired; there are far more egregious plot points to come. When Hutton's male assistant takes time off from work, the film's villainous vamp, office temp Boyle, turns up. Claiming to be a wed Stanford grad but sounding like she has marbles in her mouth, Boyle coos at Hutton, "You seem harrid," apparently meaning "harried" but making it sound enough like "horrid" to nail his performance.

Soon Boyle is flashing her legs and her bra, and though we're not amused -- Boyle's expression-free mug and calculated attempts at cool seem, to us, positively Jane Seymouresque -- Hutton desires her. Hilariously, when he asks pal Steven Weber, "Didn't you once fool around with your secretary?" Weber retorts, about Hutton's vacationing male assistant, "You thinking of boning Lance?"

When the secretary returns, Boyle goes to work for Hutton's rival exec Oliver Platt, but not before she says to Hutton -- we swear! -- "Peter, Peter, cookie-eater, had a temp, but couldn't keep her." Unhappy at her new gig, Boyle arranges an accident to maim Hutton's assistant and, while she's at it, kills off Platt. That's not what's bothering Dunaway, however; she's sure someone is after her job. "If they think I'm going down without a fight, they're mistaken," she growls, out for blood. "Believe me, I've had more knives stuck into me than Julius Caesar!" Things get worse: After Boyle is made an executive, Hutton -- who opines, "I've heard of meteoric rises, but this is ridiculous" --- rebuffs her come-on, only to find that when his cookies hit the stores, the customers literally start spitting blood. Ordering a hunt for the saboteur, Dunaway snaps, "We have to stop the bleeding!" But who can stop the laughing when Boyle, at a company picnic, strips to suggest she and Hutton "f-ck underwater," as their co-workers watch from shore?

Thinking Boyle may be the killer, Hutton searches her office. When he is discovered in the act by co-worker Colleen Flynn, he begs for her help but she refuses, saying, "I'm not the one caught with my hands in the cookie jar." Then, when Hutton peeks through Boyle's bedroom window, he sees that Boyle's got her hand in the cookie jar--at this point, both Hutton and the movie take time out to watch her masturbate.

Suffice it to say, about the film's suspense-free last third, although it boasts everything -- Boyle and Hutton ride in a car careening out of control; Hutton gets tossed atop a garbage heap; Boyle, clearly a dangerous psycho, breaks into Hutton's home to (gasp!) rearrange his furniture -- none of it goes anywhere. If, however, you're in need of a good giggle, go rent The Temp right now.

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