Total Film - 05/01/2012 3 stars out of 5 -- "PROMOTION gets by on nudge-wink observations and Scott's easy charm."
THE PROMOTION is a low-key, deader than deadpan comedy-drama that fans of THE OFFICE should love. The film stars Sean William Scott (AMERICAN PIE) and John C. Reilly (TALLADEGA NIGHTS) as assistant managers dueling for the same promotion within their Chicago-area grocery chain. Doug (Scott) is initially so sure the job is his that he takes all sorts of financial risks to impress his wife (Jenna Fischer); Richard (Reilly) is a transfer from Canada with an addiction to self-help tapes, plus a druggie biker past he needs to keep under wraps as the interview process heats up and the undercutting begins.
Writer-director Steve Conrad continues exploring his fascination with how average Americans measure themselves and fight for their slice of the pie, a study he began in his acclaimed screenplays for THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and THE WEATHER MAN. As a director he's too caustic and straight-faced to be his generation's Frank Capra, but maybe that just reflects the more complex times. THE PROMOTION captures an America in regression, a land where once-certain futures are suddenly up for grabs, and the film's cagey shifts from improv-style comedy to personal drama keep one guessing all the way to the finish line. Sporting a fetching Scots accent as Richard's better half, the diminutive Lili Taylor (I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, THE ADDICTION) steals what scenes she can. The usually extroverted Scott gets props for playing his emotional cards close to the vest this time, but can't match Reilly for hangdog goofball timing.
Description by Weinstein Company/Genius:
In a hilarious take on life in mid-management hell, two junior managers at a Chicago grocery store vie for a coveted promotion, while their wives and their co-workers can only stand back and watch how far the one-upmanship will go to get the job done.