The Promotion is a movie that shows the struggles of two men trying to get promoted to manager of a supermarket chain that is having a brand new store opening.
Seann William Scott plays Doug Stauber, an assistant manager of Donaldson's Grocery in Chicago. A new store is opening a few blocks away and he's told by the manager of his current store that he’s a lock for the manager’s position at that supermarket. Everything looks good for Doug, until Richard Welhner (John C. Reilly) transfers to the store from a Canadian sister store and begins to compete for the same job.
Suddenly Doug has gone from being a shoo-in to standing on shaky ground, as Welhner seems to be the better candidate for the position. But as the story progresses we learn of Welhner’s own issues and the dark past that continues to plague him. Doug has his own issues, including the fact that he needs this job so he and his wife (a severely misused Jenna Fischer from The Office) can move out of a crappy apartment into a house. He really needs the job since they’ve used their savings for the down payment and if he doesn’t get the job they won’t be able to make the monthly payments and will default on the loan.
We then get to see Doug and Richard competing for the manager’s job, by not only trying to one-up each other, but sabotaging each other’s chances. Doug is a little more desperate than Richard because of the financial issue, but after Richard’s wife, (another misused actress — this time it’s Lili Taylor) leaves him because he’s so focused on the job he gets darker in his sabotage.
The Promotion combines elements from Office Space and The Office and moves the satire from an office setting and places it in a supermarket instead. Some actors couldn’t pull this concept off but Seann William Scott has come a long way since his America Pie days and plays an average guy very believably, while John C. Reilly never fails to disappoint in the films I’ve seen and the duo make the film work. Look for cameos by Masi Oka (Heroes), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), and others who are friends with the writer and producers of The Promotion and were happy to help.
The Promotion DVD has several extras which include:
Commentary by writer/director Steven Conrad, producers Jessika Borsiczky Goyer and Steven A. Jones, which is packed with info, but is presented in a dull manner. If Reilly or Scott had been part of the commentary it probably would have been better.
The deleted scenes are different from most deleted scenes you see because they are comprised solely of scenes that bridge scenes in the movie rather that move the plot along.
“Making The Promotion” is a featurette that shows how the casting took place and gives some insights on the characters thanks to the actors’ thoughts.
"The Promotional Webisodes" are basically four promotional videos for the film that are forgettable at best.
Finally, we have a gag reel that is essentially one outtake and not very funny, which is surprising since the director praises Scott’s and Reilly’s comic timing, but doesn’t include any of that here.
The Promotion is a dark satire that's definitely worth a viewing thanks to performances from Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly.