Luckily for Klein, as the head honcho of Treadline Industries tires, he checks out early, leaving the tire company in the hands of Ken (the too-good-for-this David Cross, TV’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret), a nerdy, put-upon salesman/laughingstock who’s long been the target of fellow salesmen Rodney (Michael Vartan, Colombiana) and Mike (Sean Astin, The Lord of the Rings). For example, they accuse him as having gay porn on his computer at a meeting, and defecate on his car windshield.
Ken’s first act of business is to demote his two bullies to secretaries. Vartan and Astin play such assholes that we’re hardly sympathetic to their predictable predicament. Even when they wise up and grow up, and Ken takes advantage of his newfound power, my allegiances didn’t shift — they dissipated altogether.
Full of physical comedy that pays no heed to logic, pranks so infantile that they’re not even funny within this film’s context, and pleas for goodwill that are unearned, Demoted has nothing of value to offer, beyond perhaps introducing Jill Bartlett as a comedic talent of immense promise. If only director J.B. Rogers (American Pie 2) had given her the larger role as Mike’s annoyed future bride that Sara Foster (Psych:9) has instead.
For a hilarious movie about horrible bosses, stick to Horrible Bosses. —Rod Lott