The PromotionWith The Pursuit of Happyness and The Weatherman under his belt as a screenwriter, Steve Conrad turns the dark wry humor up a notch in his latest script and throws himself behind the camera with The Promotion. It seems that Conrad is equally adept at tackling comedy or drama. It’s no wonder then that he hired a composer who’s just as flexible. Alex Wurman (who scored March of the Penguins, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Anchorman) hits this one out of the park with an elevator-music-laced score that’s just tongue-in-cheek enough to feel delightfully drab while still maintaining a sense of fun.

Making use of a plinky, almost repetitive few notes and deceptively light hearted thematic drive, Wurman’s score falls somewhere in between Napoleon Dynamite simplicity and Wes Anderson quirkiness. Except for the relatively restrained celebration of “The Company Picnic” – complete with horns, a guitar and some backup vocals – every note feels extremely planned and precise. You can almost see the brown-suited middle manager laying out every note exactly as he wants it. Perhaps Wurman is a “method” composer, spending months getting into the head of the film before composing. Regardless, the mood is perfect here.

While most of the tracks follow this relatively subdued template, Wurman picks a few places to show what he can do. The human side of the characters begins to show in the more refelective guitar strumming of “Quiet House”, while the drums explode in excitement in “One Week Lot!” It’s these distinctive tracks that really showcase what Wurman is capable of and make the consistency of the album feel more like a purposeful examination of the doldrums of middle management in the grocery store industry rather than a simple repetitive score. This is the kind of subtly exciting score that offers surprises around every corner while also giving you what you expect… even if that doesn’t make sense, believe me, it’s true.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Fans of “The Office” and Office Space
Stay Away if: You’re looking for an orchestral John Williams-esque experience
Buy this on Itunes: “The Donaldsons Experience”

To purchase the score from The Promotion, visit Amazon

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