Release Date: 8/1/08
The Story: In the closest election in history, Bud Johnson’s (Kevin Costner) vote didn’t count. He alone will determine the results of the election. The problem is that he barely even knows who’s running (Kelsey Grammar and Dennis Hopper).
Kevin Costner may be an ass in real life, but he’s one of those engaging movie stars that I find charming. If you can’t stand Kevin Costner, you won’t like Swing Vote. He kind of phones it in here, playing a down-on-his-luck alcoholic redneck.
Madeline Carroll (Bud’s 10 year-old daughter) is the highlight of the movie. While she’s as engaging as Abigail Breslin, she probably won’t be nominated for an Oscar®. As the parent in this father/daughter relationship, she keeps you interested and makes you want to kick Bud in the face for neglecting to take care of this really bright kid.
I’m sure the producer’s sell line for this movie was: EdTV meets Wag the Dog, down to the stars and their cameos (Mare Winningham’s short bit as Bud’s ex-wife is heartbreaking, but somehow out of step with the rest of the movie). While it’s better than EdTV, I still think that Wag the Dog is a more prescient and forward-looking film than SV.
Paula Patton plays the local reporter who breaks the story, and she does a great job with kind of a boring role. Gorgeous woman.
Probably the highlights of this film are the lengths to which the candidates go to curry Bud’s favor. There are a couple of these, but I laughed in horror, and then in general amusement at the playground commercial. Ooh, looky what we have here… it’s on YouTube.
What It’s Worth: $9.00, essentially a full price ticket. I was entertained throughout, and I think its sense of humor is enough to make people laugh from both sides of the political spectrum, as well as people who have no interest in politics at all. I’m not going to give it a ticket plus popcorn, just because it is a little fluffy despite its content.