The Temp (1993)

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Released 6-Mar-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 92:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Holland

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Timothy Hutton
Lara Flynn Boyle
Dwight Schultz
Oliver Platt
Steven Weber
Colleen Flynn
Faye Dunaway
Scott Coffey
Dakin Matthews
Maura Tierney
Lin Shaye
Michael Winters
Daniel C. Swanson
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Frederic Talgorn

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Once you have been treated for paranoid delusions, no one takes you seriously if you complain of a big plot surrounding you...

    We meet Peter Dern (Timothy Hutton) in his psychiatrist's office, where he agrees with his psychiatrist that his treatment is pretty much complete. He rushes from there to the corporate offices of Mrs Appleby's baked goods, where he is a marketing manager. He hurries into a meeting where he presents a new product line, Oatmeal Raisin Classic cookies. He heads back to his office, and his assistant, Lance (Scott Coffey), runs out for the trivial reason that his wife is in labour with their first baby. Peter is not impressed. He gets into the office late the following morning and discovers a new assistant at the desk outside his office — she is Kris Bolin (Lara Flynn Boyle), his temp. He thinks he won't get his report in by the noon deadline, but she takes over, types up his report, gets it photocopied (by jumping the photocopier line), and gets the report in (just) by the deadline. He is very impressed. And he gets even more impressed as she organises his life even more. She seems almost too good to be true. And there is the odd moment at the Secretaries' Day lunch, when she swats a wasp with her bare hand.

    Peter is tempted by his temp, but he's trying to re-establish his relationship with his estranged wife, Sharon (Maura Tierney). Kris seems to flirt a bit, but tells him she's married — definite mixed signals.

    Peter is in competition with Jack Hartsell (Oliver Platt) for the next big promotion. Kris goes from temping for Peter to working for Jack when Lance gets back. But then Lance has a horrible accident, so Kris returns to working for Peter. And then Jack has a horrible accident, clearing the way for Peter in the promotion stakes. Meanwhile Charlene (Faye Dunaway), president of Mrs Appleby's, is expecting to be forcibly retired by Bart Foods, who took over Mrs Appleby's, which will mean that Roger (Dwight Schultz) will move up to president, and Peter can slip into the vice-president role.

    Kris tells Peter that her "only priority is serving her boss in the best, most efficient way possible". She says this with strong emphasis. She certainly does things to help Peter. But it seems there's something just a little odd about her, and she doesn't seem to be in favour of Peter getting close to Sharon again. Peter seems to be the one who discovers all the horrible accidents. However, any suspicions Peter raises get interpreted as a recurrence of his paranoia...

    Timothy Hutton's performance is one-note, rather than building up the tension as his suspicions grow.

    This starts as a fairly good thriller, keeping us wondering whether Kris is responsible for the things that are happening, or if it's someone else, or even if they really are accidents. The thing that doesn't work at all is the ending — it's almost as if they ran out of ideas, and decided to stop, rather than resolving all the loose ends. This could have been a better film with a really good ending, or if it were made as a different kind of film (this might have worked well as a black comedy). It's a shame really, because Lara Flynn Boyle gives quite a good performance.

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Transfer Quality


    The original theatrical aspect of this film was 1.85:1. This transfer has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is close. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is fairly sharp, and nicely clear. Shadow detail is only fair, and some scenes are rather dark. There's only light film grain, and only in the darker shots. There is no low-level noise. There's some minor edge enhancement visible at times, such as at 41:13 and 55:09.

    Colour is quite good, with no colour-related artefacts.

    There are a few tiny film artefacts.

    Aliasing is barely noticeable most of the time, but rises to minor on occasion. There's no moiré. There's no shimmer. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are plenty of subtitles, in 13 languages, including English, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I  watched the English subtitles, and they are fine: well-timed, abbreviated (but not overly), and easy to read.

    The disc is single sided, dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 54:30, in a black frame between scenes, and effectively invisible.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are soundtracks in five languages, but I only listened to the English. It is encoded as Dolby Digital 5.1, but I didn't notice anything at all from the subwoofer, and nothing of any significance from the surrounds — it seems that the only active channels are the front ones, with most of the dialogue in the centre channel, and score in the mains.

    The dialogue is clear and readily understood. There are no audio sync problems.

    The music is by Frederic Talgorn. It is a bit fussy at times, but it's a perfectly functional thriller score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras at all on this disc.


    The menu is static and silent, and easy to use, not that there's much to it.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc was released in the first half of 2003. It has fewer languages on it, and no layer change (not that you can see the one on this disc).

    As far as I can ascertain, the R1 transfer may be better than the one on this R4 disc, or not. There are a number of reviews, and they vary.

    I suspect that you would get pretty much the same thing with either version — a film that doesn't really satisfy. Maybe the best option is not to buy it at all?


    A thriller that isn't thrilling enough, and has a poor ending, given a reasonable, but not stellar, transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is fair to good.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The extras are completely missing.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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