Imagine if someone decided they'd take the basic premise of 'Office Space' and extract every ounce of humor from it. That's what you get when you brave the unfunny comedy that is 'Demoted.' 'Demoted' is a perfect example of just how important writing is to an actor's success. On 'Arrested Development' David Cross appears to be a comedic genius; 'Demoted' makes him look like an untrained amateur.
The movie, directed by James B. Rogers (whose only notable theatrical release was the absolutely awful insult to comedy, 'Say It Isn't So'), is quick to get to its gimmick, which it feels is particularly inventive (it isn't). Rodney (Michael Vartan) and Mike (Sean Astin) are tire salesmen. They're the top salesmen in the company and they have their boss wrapped around their phone-dialing finger. They're at the top of their game. Nothing can slow them down.
Ken Castro (David Cross) is the butt of everyone's jokes. He can't sell tires. Rodney and Mike routinely make fun of him. Then, after a night of debauchery, Mike and Rodney's boss croaks. They soon learn that Ken, because of seniority, has been promoted and is now their boss. We won't get into the fact that it seems impossible that Ken, the world's worst salesman, would be promoted to head of the sales division based solely on seniority. Then again this is corporate America and its labyrinthine bureaucracy rarely makes sense anyway.
So now Ken is the boss and he soon lives up to his surname. He revels in the power and becomes the company dictator. His first act of business: get even with Mike and Rodney for their endless abuse. He's got a plan for them. He's not going to fire them. He's going to demote them… to secretaries. No, I'm not joking. That's what this entire movie is based upon. It doesn't help Mike and Rodney that they've, up until now, treated the company secretaries like walking donut delivery machines.
Can you guess what happens next? We're soon treated to an unhealthy number of montages – look how hard it is for Mike and Rodney to file papers "Ow! Paper Cuts," look at the hilariously difficult time they have adjusting to a "woman's" job, laugh at them as they become the "coffee bitches" for the salesmen. Mike and Rodney have a difficult time adjusting and we have an even more difficult time staying awake.
'Demoted' tries its hardest to shock us with its gross-out humor. As David Cross flails about in poop water -- Mike and Rodney rig the toilets to explode once Ken sits down -- you'll literally wonder how much more crap you can take.
Trying to suffer through a bad comedy is so much worse than suffering through a bad movie in general. At least you can laugh at bad movies when they're being unintentionally funny. That's not an option if you're watching a bad comedy, because it's intentionally trying to be funny and it just isn't. There's nothing to laugh at because you have to sit through the terrible jokes, groaning as it gets worse and worse. 'Demoted' reeks of desperation. Like a bombing comedian screaming, "Please! Laugh at my jokes," while his audience heckles him.
Watching 'Demoted' is a chore, which sucks because I really like David Cross in just about anything (except for this and those abominable 'Chipmunk' movies). If you pass 'Demoted' in the store and wonder if it'll be funny since Cross is front and center on the cover, think again. You're simply setting yourself up for a dip in unfunny poop water.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is an Anchor Bay release. It comes on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc, is packaged in an eco-friendly Blu-ray case, and is a Region A release.
U-G-L-Y! That's the easiest way to describe this flat, one-dimensional, murky 1080p transfer. This movie was only filmed a couple years ago? Could've fooled me. 'Demoted' comes to Blu-ray looking like a third-tier catalog title that some studio threw together from a crappy standard-def master ("master" in this case could be referring to an old VHS tape).
It really looks bad. Detail is non-existent. There is an extremely thick layer of nauseating grain that does nothing but distract from the movie. The picture is full of source noise which is just as distracting. Banding, aliasing and shimmering abound in just about every scene. Blacks are beyond flat. Whites are blinding. Faces practically disappear at the first sign of natural light hitting the skin. Speaking of skin, tones look pale and sickly.
This is simply one of the ugliest movies I've ever watched on Blu-ray. It seemed like no effort whatsoever went into making this look even slightly good in high-def.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track doesn't fare much better. It's anemic at best. The busy office environment hardly registers in the rear channels. Dialogue is extremely low and hard to hear much of the time. The movie's musical soundtrack, on the other hand, blares at ear-splitting volume causing one to constantly adjust the volume up and down depending on if music is shrieking or if people are talking. Honestly, it's hard to find anything of note about this audio mix that's worth talking about. The entire disc is just bad. Both presentations are terribly put together.
There are none, thank goodness.
Whew! I'm glad that's over. Getting through 'Demoted' was taxing. There's nothing worse than sitting through an excruciatingly bad comedy. There isn't one laugh to be had here. Not even a chuckle or a guffaw. It's a complete wonder how the writers even thought this material was funny when they were writing it.
Please! For the love of everything that is funny, avoid 'Demoted.'