Saturday, 14 August 2010

Movie Review: The Promotion (2008)


A lacklustre attempted comedy that lurches along, stuck somewhere between neutral and first gear and lost in the outer reaches of an energy-draining, sun-drenched parking lot.

Doug (Seann William Scott) is an Assistant Manager at a suburban Donaldson's supermarket. He spends his time dealing with cranky or insane customers in the store and violent thugs in the parking lot. Doug is told that he's a shoe-in to become the Manager at a new, about-to-open Donaldson's; but Richard (John C. Reilly), is suddenly transferred from Canada as another Assistant, and is equally eager to compete for the Manager position.

The Promotion is neither funny nor thoughtful, and it is rarely engaging. In the absence of a spark in Director Steven Conrad's script, it is left to the performers to save the movie, but they are not up to the task. Seann William Scott is bland to the point of transparency, and John C. Reilly, without an animated foil to bounce against, never gains traction. Jenna Fischer, as Doug's wife Jen, would have been the most interesting thing in the movie had she not been criminally under-used.

There are some mildly amusing moments in The Promotion, and it does succeed in presenting a befitting version of stale suburbia. But for the most part, the attempts at humour fall flat, and we never get to care about any of the characters, and even less so about who may win the promotion. Had either Doug or Richard been shown to be actually good at their job, we may have believed that one or both are deserving; instead, they are both portrayed as thoroughly incompetent.

Maybe the thugs in the parking lot should be given their chance at managing the new store.



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