FILM REVIEW: “The Promotion”

From Willamette Week, 6/11/08:

Director Steve Conrad has essentially remade the 2005 filmThe Weather Man (which he wrote for Gore Verbinski) but swapped a TV station for the supermarket and replaced the existentially whacked-out Nicholas Cage with two aspiring grocers, Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly. Scott, a longtime employee at a corporate supermarket in Chicago, figures he’s a shoo-in for manager of a new store, until he’s challenged by an out-of-town transfer, an innocent-looking, very Christian, Canadian halfwit played by Reilly. Unable to become brown-bagging friends, the two develop a nice little professional rivalry, replete with lies, small instances of sabotage, name-calling and a frozen-food fight. Though the movie, like The Weather Man, has its moments, this new offering isn’t nearly as funny or profound as it wants to be, with observations of absurdity in the supermarket world that recall Office Space but never even come close to reaching Mike Judge heights. Unlike Office Space, and very much likeThe Weather Man, the film bangs you over the head with mediocre narration and forced moments of self-reflection, as the two average Joes try to find slices of meaning in life. To top it off, The Promotion wastes the talent of Jenna Fischer (The Office), who’s reduced to a one-dimensional, personality-free grocer’s wife.

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