The Promotion movie poster
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The Promotion movie poster

The Promotion Movie Review

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From the writer of The Pursuit of Happyness comes The Promotion, an Office Space/Office wannabe that is better than I expected yet still not as good as it could have been. The Promotion stars Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly as two competing retail managers who are both vying to become the head of a new store.

Written and directed by Steve Conrad, The Promotion is smart and funny in a subtle way, but at times a bit too subtle. Conrad captures the desperation and awkwardness of retail life quite well; everything has a washed out feel to it, none of the characters are exactly sensational personalities and the executives live with a stick up their ass. Both Scott and Reilly are good in their respective roles, as both are quite believable as assistant managers. Scott isn't an idiot, but he isn't the most assertive tool in the shed. Reilly's character is even better.

The Promotion is a fun little movie, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny. The film is a story of mounting tensions and awkward competitiveness, where neither man is inherently bad but both go to some lengths to discredit each other. Unfortunately, Conrad keeps the movie too far in the realm of reality, where there really isn't that much excitement, hilarity or anything else. The film is subtle in its approach, but it never reaches the breaking point like you'd expect. Ultimately, there's not much too the film; while Conrad captures the essence of retail life, he never nails down the funny situations that make retail work so horrible. Maybe Conrad never intended to go in that direction, but he should have.

The Promotion has its moments and overall is relatively entertaining, but it lacks absolutely anything memorable. When the ending credits begin to roll, all you can do is shrug, put the DVD back in its case and forget about it five minutes later. Hence this short review.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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