A dramatic comedy about a self-induced attention-deficit disordered, learning disabled, Tourette's syndrome suffering, balance impaired, ex-alcoholic young man from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the gold-digging girl who inspires him to try to get it together.
Tod Harrison Williams
Seann William Scott,
Taken aback by his mother's wedding announcement, a young man returns home in an effort to stop her from marrying his old high school gym teacher, a man who made high school hell for generations of students.
Billy Bob Thornton,
Seann William Scott,
Tim Lippe has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
At 33, Doug Stauber is ready for a promotion. He's married, wants to buy a house, and is assistant manager at a Chicago supermarket that's building a new store in his neighborhood. His boss tells him he's a shoo-in to manage the new store, then, a rival appears - Richard Wehlner, transferred from Canada. Richard has a deeper resume than Doug, is really nice, has a wife and daughter, and wants the promotion to manager too. How should Doug behave toward Richard - as a friend, a colleague, a competitor, or an enemy? Richard, it seems, has demons and a past, but with the help of motivational tapes, he's resolved to succeed. Corporate and personal tests await the two men. Written by
There's nothing overly spectacular about The Promotion, and yet it has an odd way of succeeding at every little joke it makes. Peculiarly satisfying, the film showcases key hilarious scenes interspersed with occasionally mediocre, but generally entertaining, bits of gross-out humor and creative cursing. A combination of the best elements of Waiting and Office Space applied to the grocery business, The Promotion uses dry, bitingly dark humor and abrasive sarcasm to muster up many quality laughs.
Doug Stauber (Seann William Scott) works as an Assistant Manager for Donaldson's, a generic grocery store that demonstrates the basic horrors of any retail store. While he tolerates the many nuisances and hazards of grocery store life, he envisions a more luxurious life when a new Donaldson's is set to open up nearby. Considered the "shoe-in" for the position of Manager, Doug finally decides to buy a house with his wife Jennifer (Jenna Fischer), counting on the huge increase in pay.
But just as Doug rejoices at the position he believes is his, Richard Welhner (John C. Reilly) transfers to the store from Canada. Richard is secretly recovering from a drug and alcohol problem, but he has an outstanding service record that presents Doug with some serious competition for the new Manager spot. With the pressure of trying to outperform his rival, Doug ends up sinking further and further into stress-filled delirium as does Richard, who must break all the rules to compete for the big promotion.
It is the exploitation of extremely pathetic characters and situations (perhaps both familiar and average for some) that makes The Promotion so funny. Nearly everyone can relate to the depressingly helpless customer service situations that Doug and Richard must contend with, as well as the stresses of performing for a boss or standing up to troublesome shoppers. The nightmarish episodes at Donaldson's are relative to almost every job, and they are all handled with cynical accuracy. Not every joke is extraordinary, but never does the film miss a beat, even with the briefer moments of humor. From painfully long moments of silence under the scrutiny of an executive or battling unruly gangs in a perilous parking lot, every shenanigan is oddly satisfying.
With a few random flashback moments similar to a live action version of Family Guy, and the steady deterioration of the lead characters under pounds of stress, The Promotion revels in political incorrectness and the mockery of professionalism. Imaginative cursing, tragic misunderstandings and the hilarious self-help tapes Welhner depends on, all tumble together to create a film that dryly parodies every mishap that can happen in retail. The humor occasionally falls back on extreme immaturity or mawkish verbal vulgarities, but remains downright funny at all the right moments. The Promotion is an immensely enjoyable film for anyone who's ever had a retail job or any job for that matter.
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