Swing Vote

"Weak"

Swing Vote Review


Swing Vote arrives during one election cycle but heavily references another, spinning the hanging chad scandal of the 2000 presidential race into a formulaic feel-empowered comedy for today's huddled masses.

Bud (Kevin Costner) and Molly Johnson (gifted newcomer Madeline Carroll) assume Hollywood's textbook father-daughter duo: she's the pint-sized "adult" of the trailer they call home, and he's the whiny child. On the eve of a tight presidential race, a mix-up at the polls negates Bud's ballot, which doesn't sound like a big deal until it's determined that the election will come down to a photo finish decided by one vote -- Bud's. If you think that's even remotely possible, by all means, read on. As Bud gets a crash course in democracy from smarty-pants Molly, incumbent president Andrew Boone (Kelsey Grammer) and left-leaning White House hopeful Donald Greenleaf descend on Texico, New Mexico with glad-handlers in tow in hopes of winning the slob's valuable support.

When I tell you Swing Vote hammers us over the head with its message, I couldn't be more literal. Costner's Bud stumbles out of a bar in one particular scene and clunks his skull on a sign that reads "Vote today!" The fact that the same sign remains outside the tavern weeks later puzzled me, but Swing isn't the kind of a film that concerns itself with details.

Writer/director Joshua Michael Stern sets his phasers to "crowd pleaser." Corn-fed classic rock staples fill his soundtrack, while scenes end predictably on the back-beats of forced one-liners. Costner can do the loveable loser in his sleep. He makes a nice team with Carroll, though they play the odd-couple tune until the guitar strings snap. The presence of dependable supporting cast members -- Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane, George Lopez, and Judge Reinhold -- lulls us into a false sense of comedic security. But aside from a few inspired campaign advertisements created in response to Bud's wacky opinions, this screenplay is light on laughs (and too scared to declare its own opinions on crucial matters, right down to its abrupt non-ending).

Speaking of scared, tear back the studio gloss and you'll reveal a terrifying message. Swing Vote spends two hours demeaning the hillbilly cowpokes of flyover country, then reminds us just how powerful they can be in a general election. Now that's scary. Is it too late to change "We the people" to "We the people who somehow are deemed fit?"

SPOILER: He votes for Nader.



Swing Vote

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st August 2008

Box Office USA: $16.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $17.6M

Budget: $21M

Distributed by: Touchstone Pictures/Treehouse Films

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 55 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Joshua Michael Stern

Producer: , , Terry Dougas

Starring: as Bud Johnson, as Donald Greenleaf, as President Andrew Boone, as Martin Fox, as Kate Madison

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.