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Film review: Temp, The

Published: Friday, Feb. 19 1993 12:00 a.m. MST

As another entry in the "don't-trust-anyone" paranoia thrillers that have taken over the fright genre of late, "The Temp" is one of the dumbest.

Call this one "The Hand That Types the Memo." Or maybe, "Steno White Female."

Timothy Hutton — where's he been? — has the lead, working in the advertising department of a major cookie company. And he's got problems.

He's just getting over bouts of paranoia, wherein he fantasized his wife was cheating on him, and his (unseen) psychiatrist is letting him go off therapy for awhile. So, he's on his own. And though he'd like to get back with his wife and son, she's a bit hesitant.

If that's not enough, the company has been taken over by a conglomerate, which has put his promotion on hold. And a big report is due to the boss (Faye Dunaway) tomorrow but his assistant (no one here is a "secretary") is on a leave of absence! What's a junior executive to do?

Enter the title character, in the person of Lara Flynn Boyle ("Twin Peaks"), an amazing typist and clerical worker who tidies up the office, organizes every file and virtually straightens out Hutton's life.

She seems to be a dream come true. And she may be bucking for a raise by burning the midnight oil to further Hutton's career . . . the competition is being mysteriously whittled down as executives begin dropping like flies.

The downside, of course, is that she also seems to be fixated on Hutton and is apparently sabotaging his efforts to reconcile with his wife.

This is pretty silly stuff, laughably idiotic and played perfectly straight by the overly sincere cast. Hutton manages to keep most of his dignity intact, but Boyle and Dunaway — and especially Dwight Schultz as a fellow exec — are wildly over the top.

There's also an attempted twist ending that is so preposterous the audience is likely to be rolling in the aisles.

"The Temp" is a good title for this film. It won't be on the box office list long.

The film is rated R for a couple of gore scenes (including someone getting his hand ripped off in a paper shredder) and profanity. There is also violence, sex and fleeting nudity.