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Living the American Dream, happily married Doug Stauber’s professional ambitions are about to be realised when his boss at the Chicago supermarket chain where he works assures him he's a shoo-in to manage a new neighbourhood store. However, enter rival Richard Wehlner. He wants the job too, has a better CV than Doug, has a wife and a daughter and is regarded by seemingly everybody as an all-round terrific guy...
Okay, I see what writer/director Steven Conrad was trying to do with The Promotion, however, I get the feeling that his idea was trampled on when someone thought it was a good idea to cast Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly in the two lead roles. And having cast them, they appear to have improvised a lot, or at least ignored the script, because could have been a gentle comedy that looked at how there are no real bad people in our day-to-day lives - just individuals bumping up against each other as they try to provide for their families or flesh out a happier existence for themselves.
Sadly, what we end up with is a movie which flips between farce and gentle comedy without managing to master either side - and to be honest if the director had stuck with one or the other this would have been a much better movie. It would have worked as an over-the-top, cliched farce with Scott and Reilly trying to get the better of each other, and it would have worked as a gentle comedy with Reilly being totally good throughout the movie and Scott feeling bad about using this to his advantage. How about having Doug trying to come up with ingenious ways to get ahead of his competitor or maybe Richard could have been secretly plotting behind Doug's back throughout the entire movie.
But, because Conrad tries to please everybody, what we end up with is a bit of a mess that feels like a very rough first draft. I don't know about anyone else, but when I see a movie, while I don't expect my entire life to be changed, I do expect to take something away from it. My life has altered not one bit after seeing The Promotion - with the possible exception that I'll try and give all future Reilly movie's a wide berth. He just seems to always play the same child-like character.
It's a shame, because there is a lot of promise here. The characters of Doug (and Richard have a lot of potential. Sadly, though, the end result is a sloppy, badly constructed movie which neither amuses or entertains.
I can't comment on whether there are any extras - we only received a CD-R disc for review which was time coded and displayed in the wrong aspect ration.