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The Temp Review

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Recovering from a nervous breakdown Peter (Hutton) returns to work to find that he has a new secretary (Boyle), who it turns out is willing to do anything to get to the top of the chain, even if it means killing someone to get there.

★★★★★

Yet another Psycho Bitch From Hell movie, this has Peter (Hutton), an executive in a biscuit company run by shoulderpadded supremo Faye Dunaway, getting over a bout of paranoia only to have his life invaded by highly efficient temporary secretary Kris (Boyle), who gets him back together as she schools him for a promotion.

When Peter's regular assistant returns after paternity leave, he is permanently put out of the picture by a squirm-inducing accident with the office shredder and Kris seems set for further advancement. As the temp moves up the corporate ladder, more and more execs meet gruesome but inexplicit fates and Hutton, understandably, becomes more and more twitchily crazy. Trotting along after too many entries in its limited, if you will, sub-genre, this has little to add (a bee-sting murder is even copied from The Crush) and suffers from a wishy-washy climax apparently imposed on director Holland after a studio reshuffle and some complaints from a distinguished supporting performer who didn't want to be seen in a bad light.

The only redeeming features this reviewer could find were Lara Flynn Boyle's alarming eyebrows and odd costumes, and a few moments of creepy ambiguity that get squashed in the thudding finale. And being a paid-up paranoiac, it's hard not to think the hidden agenda of films such as this is that male American filmmakers are so worried about women they think any housewife, nanny, schoolgirl or secretary who steps out of line by suggesting she should be treated as an equal must be an incipient homicidal maniac and deserves to be dropped into a grinding machine. Oh dear.

Amongst the spat of 90's psycho-bitch female thrillers, this one is not one to remember. Boyle gives an unmemorable performance with Hutton doing his best to act scared but with a story that recycles so many parts of recent films, it feels like you are watching the highlights of the genre and not in a good way.

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