(Note: We're re-posting our review of The Promotion from SXSW to coincide with the film's theatrical release this weekend.)

A few years ago, we were treated subjected to a retail farce known as Employee of the Month, a near-witless comedy that pitted Dane Cook and Dax Shepard against each other as moronic clerks who vie for the title of (you guessed it) Employee of the Month. I knew there was a lot of room for successful comedy in this sort of premise, but aside from a stray chuckle or two, EOTM was an entirely stale and completely sitcom-level effort.

Now comes a very small, very funny, and oddly warm-hearted flick in sort of the same vein. It's called The Promotion; it stars Sean William Scott and John C. Reilly; it was written and directed by first-timer Steve Conrad ... and if it comes out in 2008, then it will definitely end up in my top ten of the year. (Conrad is a first-time director; his previous screenplays include Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, The Weather Man, and The Pursuit of Happyness.) This is a fantastic little comedy, filled with all sorts of weird little moments and strange diversions, but at its core, The Promotion is a profanely sweet-natured dual character study that doles out a LOT of laughs while actually celebrating ... small doses of actual humanity! It's a great comedy with an excellent message delivered by a bunch of actors who are clearly savoring the material. (My normal m.o. is to "champion" smaller horror flicks, but a good movie is a good movie, period. If I can turn a dozen people onto The Promotion, then I'm doing my job.)