The Promotion

The Promotion movie poster
MPAA rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Personality quirks and inadequacies come to the surface when two men (Seann William Scott, John C. Reilly) vie for the top job in a grocery chain's new store.
Starring: Seann William Scott, John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Lili Taylor, Fred Armisen, Gil Bellows, Bobby Cannavale, Rick Gonzalez, Chris Conrad
Director: Steve Conrad
Running time: 1:26
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Editorial Review

A big-screen "Dilbert" without most of the scathing humor, "The Promotion" is less a comedy than a labor parable: Two lumpen grocery store workers vie for the same pitiful management job when instead they should be taking on . . . The Man! Forced into conflict with each other (rather than the heinous corporate monolith that oppresses them), they compete rather than unite and in the process are reduced to their basest selves.

The portrayal of employment in America is too close for comfort. Or comedy. Doug (Seann William Scott) is more or less languishing in a dead-end job where his boss (Fred Armisen) takes long lunches, a gang of black youths harasses female customers (and isn't the setup here a bit cliched?) and employees are thieves. It's interesting in a sociopolitical sense that amid all the black and Hispanic workers at Donaldson's, the leading shoo-in to manage the new store across town is the principal white guy in the place. Until Richard (John C. Reilly) gets transferred down from Quebec. And then there are two.

You have to wonder whether writer and director Steve Conrad, who wrote the films "Wrestling Ernest Hemingway," "The Weather Man" and "The Pursuit of Happyness," had something more hefty in mind before Harvey and Bob Weinstein came aboard and marketed his movie as a laugh riot.

Regardless, it's not the stuff of lighthearted summer comedy.

-- John Anderson (June 13, 2008)

Contains vulgarity, drug use and sexual situations.