An ambitious secretary murders her way up the corporate ladder in this dull black comedy.

An ambitious secretary murders her way up the corporate ladder in the dull black comedy “Miss Nobody.” Despite stylish direction by Tim Cox (credited on the print as T. Abram Cox), game performances from a name cast and sharp production design, pic falls victim to the derivative, over-busy script from TV scribe Douglas Steinberg. Unless cable beckons, “Miss Nobody” is likely headed direct to DVD.

When demure blonde Sarah Jane McKinney (Leslie Bibb) gets a surprise promotion from the secretarial pool to the executive suite at Judge Pharmaceuticals, she brings new meaning to the term “cutthroat competition.” Although her career as office killer begins accidentally, when she’s warding off the advances of lecherous boss Milo Beeber (Brandon Routh), she’s soon dispatching double-dealing colleagues, believing she has divine dispensation from St. George, her guardian angel.

Soon, a blackmailing exec (Vivica A. Fox) takes a tumble onto subway tracks, and a condescending publicist (Patrick Fischler) meets his maker bare-assed on a photocopier; other victims include a backstabbing consultant (David Anthony Higgins) and a nebbishy wannabe womanizer (Eddie Jemison). As the body count mounts, Sarah Jane falls for the cop (Adam Goldberg) investigating the killings.

Director Cox, a former animator and storyboard artist as well as helmer of TV creature features such as “Mammoth,” “Larva,” and “Alien Lockdown,” gives the pic some much-needed visual verve by exploiting its cartoonish potential through framing, camera angles and colorful production design. He also elicits some memorably over-the-top (albeit one-note) perfs from the supporting cast.

As she proved in Goran Dukic’s “Wristcutters: A Love Story,” statuesque star Bibb is a smart actress willing to give herself totally to a role. As the sweetly goofy murderess, she takes pratfalls, suffers endless groping and sports unbecoming attire.

The equally statuesque Missy Pyle scores in her brief screen time as Sarah Jane’s treacherous best friend, while thesps such as Kathy Baker (as Sarah Jane’s eccentric mom), Barry Bostwick (as her confessor priest) and Paula Marshall (as another unpleasant colleague) are given embarrassingly little to do.

Best aspect of the script is its structure according to Sarah Jane’s voiceover narration, which at least keeps things moving at a brisk pace.

Sharp tech package etches distinct looks for Judge Pharmaceuticals and the later day “Addams Family”/”Arsenic and Old Lace”-style boarding house where Sarah Jane lives with her mother. Slinky animated opening credits by Carsten Becker are especially notable.

Miss Nobody

Production

A Jones/Harris production. Produced by J. Todd Harris, Kathy Weiss, Alan Jones. Executive producers, Leslie Bibb, Robert Griffin, Douglas Steinberg, Marc Toberoff. Co-producer, Stephanie Johnson. Directed by T. Abram Cox. Screenplay, Douglas Steinberg.

Crew

Camera (color), Mateo Londono; editor, Chris Peterson; music, John Dickson; production designer, Anthony Tremblay; costume designer, Rebecca Bentjen; sound (Dolby Digital), Myron Nettinga; casting, Veronica Rooney. Reviewed at Seattle Film Festival (New American Cinema), June 12, 2010. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Leslie Bibb, Adam Goldberg, Missi Pyle, Kathy Baker, Brandon Routh, Vivica A. Fox, Eddie Jemison, Patrick Fischler, David Anthony Higgins, Barry Bostwick, Paula Marshall.

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