Kevin Costner (as Bud Johnson), Kelsey Grammer, and a host of others star in Swing Vote, a 2008 election feel-good flick about an under-achieving father from podunk, New Mexico, who is down on his luck mainly due to his almost complete lack of responsibility: he drinks too much; he gets up too late; he misses work; he misses the events which are important to his young, over-achiever daughter; he doesn’t register to vote. He fails to show up at his local precinct to meet his daughter, who has registered him to vote, an event she is supposed to write a school paper for. So she sneaks in after the precinct is closed, forges his name, gets his ballot, and inserts it right before the power is cut — with his ballot still in the machine.
This Swing Vote situation puts Bud in the unenviable position of being the only vote on the records which is not accounted for, so when New Mexico’s tally ends in a tie, and the nation’s tally is tied, waiting on New Mexico to decide the election, Bud’s vote suddenly becomes the focal point of the world – the man with the swing vote.
Madeline Carroll is adorable in Swing Vote as Costner’s daughter. However, there is nothing cute about an overly precocious child acting like a grown-up and delivering grown-up lines. Someone needs to remind Hollywood what childhood is all about. It is not about little kids dressing, talking, and behaving like adults.
Swing Vote is cute, however, and manages to deliver some thought-provoking moments as Bud slowly comes to realize that his vote counts, and his decision has consequences, thanks to the tutelage of his adult-in-a-child’s-body daughter. Kelsey Grammer is almost presidential in his Swing Vote role as the incumbent candidate, although both candidates are portrayed as panderers who will do almost anything to get Bud’s vote. Stanley Tucci is mildly menacing as Grammer’s campaign manager, and George Lopez downplays his small role as a newsroom director, making it believable. The other cast members of Swing Vote, including Paula Patton, Dennis Hopper, and Nathan Lane, did not make memorable impressions.
Swing Vote released to theaters August 1, 2008 and released to DVD and Blu-Ray January 13, 2009. It is rated PG-13 for language and is 120 minutes long. Swing Vote would be good for those times when you want a laugh or two and don’t want to think too hard.
For Extras and other movie details, visit “Swing Vote” on DVD January 13 – a Movie Review
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