The Promotion
Directed by Steve Conrad (R)

Two affable losers compete for a supermarket managerial position.


The Promotion is an “uneven” movie but not a terrible one, said Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. In what could have been a darker, meaner version of TV’s The Office, Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly play two supermarket employees competing for the same managerial
position. But first-time director Steve Conrad, previously known as a screenwriter, doesn’t have the chops to “alternate successfully between punch lines and pathos.” He does, however, “nail the small humiliations of workaday life,” said Rafer Guzman in Newsday. It’s entertaining to watch Scott sift through comment cards and see Reilly embarrass himself at the staff retreat. Yet even as Conrad fills in such details, he “loses sight of the bigger picture.” As a result, the film feels “weirdly off-kilter,” said Christy Lemire in the Associated Press. You never know whether to laugh at these guys or feel sorry for them. The only thing that’s clear is that Conrad wasn’t ready for his own promotion from writer to director.