The Promotion (R) 85 minutes B
Desperate husbands, desperate measures
Starring John C. Reilly, Seann William Scott, Jenna Fischer, Lili Taylor, Fred Armisen, Gil Bellows, Bobby Cannavale, and Rick Gonzalez
Once in awhile a film comes a long that's a little different than the rest. On the surface it may look like your run-of-the-mill offbeat indie comedy, but at the core is something a little more distinct... an odd and humanistic glimpse into the world of two average joes trying to become better than average. The Promotion is a needy film... but in a good way. The more I think about the film, the more endearing it is to me.
In a nutshell, it's the story of two men who are competing for the same promotion at a Chicago supermarket. Each man is happily married and desperately wants to make his wife proud. They also have insecurities and obstacles that prevent them from being all they can be.
I think a lot of critics don't know how to take this film, is it a comedy? a drama? or what? New York Post critic Lou Lumenick said "this is easily the worst movie I've seen so far this year", while Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter insinuates that it might be "one of the unfunniest comedies ever".
But I liked it. The film does feel a little peculiar in the beginning, but it eventually comes together and settles into a nice meditation in desperation. It's not for everyone, but it's definitely worth seeing if you crave something a little different.
This is the directorial debut for Steven Conrad, he also wrote The Weather Man starring Nicolas Cage (that film was borderline genius!). The two films have been compared in several reviews, although I think The Weather Man is the funnier and darker film. Nevertheless, if you liked The Weather Man, you might like The Promotion.