SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
SXSW Review: The Promotion
by Ken Evans
March 10, 2008
I have seen 3 documentaries and 3 1/2 fictional narratives during my time here at SXSW. The Promotion is my favorite film of the festival so far. It was exactly what I needed to see to set the bar for the rest of the films I'm going to watch. A great mix of drama and comedy that led to a final feel good moment at the end. While it's not the greatest movie I've seen, it was still very good and it lifted my spirits, especially after the previous two fictional narratives I watched turned out to be duds.
The Promotion is about two men who are both looking to get ahead in life and out of the rut that their poor financial situation has put them in. Doug (Seann William Scott) wants to get a house to provide a better life for his wife, Jenn (Jenna Fischer). Richard (John C. Reilly) is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. He also wants to improve the quality of life for his child and wife (Lili Taylor). Both feel threatened by the other and so the competition and sabotage begins.
I love this new trend of mixing drama with comedy. Even with all of the humor and funny situations, there was so much heart and so much that I connected with. They portrayed the discontent that one feels looking at their life and realizing that its not turning out the way they pictured. The feeling of being trapped in a place where you can't get ahead no matter how hard you try. I have felt those feelings before and was really able to sympathize with both of the main characters.
The only thing that threw me for a few loops was the sudden jumps between very dry humor to loud in your face comedy. It wasn't that I hated these jumps, it just took a bit to get used to them. Usually they were centered around John C. Reilly's character who would burst out in anger over his own screw-ups.
Overall it was very humorous even during some dramatic points in the story. John C. Reilly has really grown as an actor and was able to play a bit more serious role than he is used to. Seann William Scott was great and has gotten to the point in his career where I can actually look at him and not automatically think "Stiffler", a true accomplishment. This was a great film that dealt with a form of discontent that I think most people experience at different times in their lives. This will be a great film to check out when it hits theaters later this year.