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The stars deliver shaded performances that never turn buffoonish--even Reilly's aria of comic desperation in which the phrase "bad apples" takes an irretrievably ruinous turn as he speaks with some black civic leaders. They get yeoman support from Jenna Fischer and Lili Taylor in the underwritten roles of the rivals' wives, Fred Armisen as the guys' feckless superior, Gil Bellows as a psychobabbly corporate exec, and Jason Bateman in a cameo as a motivational speaker working a company picnic. --Richard T. Jameson
Top Customer Reviews
Just a short caveat: This is not your typical comedy, so the exposition may throw you off. Nonetheless, after the first ten minutes the film's playfulness begins to peek through ... and by the twenty-minute mark, the viewer is thoroughly engrossed. So, just let go of all assumptions and let Conrad (the director) guide your feelings.
At times, this piece is genuinely hysterical: the comment-cards, the shopping-cart gag, the parking-lot gangs ... all funny. At other times, it's deliberately uncomfortable: both men need this advancement, both men have families, both have our sympathies. The moments of tension are fairly intense. The betrayals are almost heart-crushing. But even in its darkest moments (there are a few), the viewer never wants to abandon the film. Its complexity is what makes this work so appealing!
Hey, I knew it was a great film when I heard Public Image Limited on the soundtrack (just had to say that).Read more ›
The ever-endearing Seann William Scott (Stifler from the "American Pie" series) plays Doug Stauber, an assistant manager at a grocery store who's having trouble controlling not only his own subordinates but the obnoxious gang members who seem to have taken up residence in the parking lot and spend their time harassing the shoppers. When Doug learns that a new franchise is opening soon in the area, he's assured by his current boss that he's a "shoo-in" for the position of manager there - until, that is, Richard Wehlner, a native of Canada, moves to town and becomes Doug's key rival for the spot.
Given the premise, "The Promotion" could easily have devolved into one of those broad, lowest-common-denominator farces, filled with obvious sight-gags and over-the-top slapstick. Instead, thanks to a restrained script and subtle direction by Steven Conrad, the movie becomes a genial and gently amusing tale of two equally likable people who are just trying to move ahead a little in the tightly circumscribed world in which they live. Doug and Richard aren't asking for fame and fortune, just a little recognition that they're doing a good job with the resources that have been handed to them. That they are forced to tear one another down in order to achieve that recognition is what gives the movie its poignancy and soul. The movie, thus, becomes that rare tale about competition and rivalry where no one is a villain.
In addition to the wonderful lead actors, the cast includes Fred Armisen ("SNL"), Jenna Fischer ("The Office"), Lili Taylor ("Six Feet Under") and Jason Bateman ("Arrested Development").
Give this one a chance; it will grow on you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this movie it really does show a small picture of a retail jobs struggles.Published 20 months ago by Casey Carlson
This was an incredibly surprisingly good film - I say incredibly surprisingly, because there is a typical trope in american comedies - two guys competing for a role/job/something,... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Matthew Bentley
Such a surprise. Saw this movie on Netflix I think, and just checked it out on a whim. It's hilarious and original. John C Reilly is brilliant. Highly recommended.Published on June 1, 2014 by Jodi
If you know anything about working in retail, this movie will really hit home to you. It's just simply hilarious.Published on April 7, 2014 by Della Quantrell