The Promotion

If you were to compile a list of the most disappointing films of the year, “The Promotion” would sit pretty far at the top. Written and directed by Steven Conrad (perhaps best known for penning “The Pursuit of Happyness”), the film stars Seann William Scott as Doug, the assistant manager of a major supermarket in Chicago. When the opening of a new location prompts Doug to apply for the coveted manager position, he’s considered a shoo-in by his boss (Fred Armisen) – that is, until fellow assistant manager Richard (John C. Reilly) decides to compete for the job as well. But instead of proving to the board executives (led by Gil Bellows) why they’re the best candidate, Doug and Richard engage in a juvenile squabble that threatens to ruin both of their chances. Unfortunately, none of it is very funny, and Conrad is entirely to blame. The script just doesn’t make the most of its ingenious setup. As the narrator of the film, you’d think Doug was the main protagonist, but then the focus shifts to Richard, and you’re left to wonder who it is you’re supposed to be rooting for. With the exception of a funny cameo by Jason Bateman as the coordinator of a company retreat, “The Promotion” is a complete bore. It had the potential to flourish as the grocery store equivalent of “Office Space,” but instead, it only feels like a slightly better rendition of “Employee of the Month.”

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