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The Promotion

A bumpy seesaw ride
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  June 11, 2008
2.0 2.0 Stars
thepromotioninside.jpg
The Promotion

This workplace comedy from writer/director Steve Conrad is a bumpy seesaw ride. Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly star as rivals for the managerial spot at an addition to the Chicago supermarket chain for which they toil. Scott, who usually plays a flake, is cast here as solid citizen Doug, who’s looking forward to a future as a retail lifer. (Jenna Fischer plays his wife.) Reilly’s the new guy from Canada, Richard — a stereotypical Nice Guy until his surface is scratched. Things quickly get sloppy in Conrad’s screenplay. The story is told from Doug’s point of view, since we hear his voiceover, but we also get scenes of Richard’s life to which Doug is not privy (and hear the motivational tape Richard uses). As Richard’s composure disintegrates amid the employee practical jokes, irate customers, and humiliations he suffers in the presence of corporate suits, you sense that Conrad wanted to make the movie about him rather than Doug. In Reilly, Conrad found an actor who excels at both realism and caricature — too bad this director doesn’t have the chops to take advantage either way. 85 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Kendall Square + Suburbs

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