An amiable enough movie that Hollywood turns out with ease: a sort of topical plot involving voting with well known actors to pull in the public. As this is a Hollywood product for the masses I didn't expect anything too hard hitting which made it slightly frustrating viewing.
One man's vote is going to decide who runs America for the next four years and the two main parties pitch their policies in the media based on their interpretation of his views. Here was a chance, with TV ads and political speeches to do some biting satire on the contemporary US political landscape but the opportunity was passed by. See 'Wag the dog' or HBO's brilliant 'Recount' for the satirical potential of American politics.
The action and situations were all rather over-the-top as the movie progressed, with Kevin Costner playing the hero Bud, a local drunk and unemployed layabout who lives in a trailer with his daughter Molly. Part of the appeal of the movie, for US audiences only, is the way Costner plays easy-going Bud. In the rest of the world I would expect viewers to get fed up with him pretty quickly. His twelve-year-old daughter Molly, played by a very competent Madeline Carroll, was probably the bright spark in the whole movie. Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper and Stanley Tucci seemed only to be there to give the production some credibility. Their parts could have been played by any number of Hollywood character actors.
I thought 'Swing vote' was a lightweight family feel-good movie, rather too US oriented to be much fun for anybody else.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Funny Political ParodyJune 23 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
"Swing Vote" is a delightful parody of the American political system. If the viewer can put aside their credulity - their sense of the logical - this film can be humorous and generally entertaining.
Kevin Costner plays the part of Bud Johnson, a man who mostly drifts mentally, and simply does not care about politics and current affairs. Bud is sort of a poor man's playboy.
Bud has a daughter Molly, played by Madeline Carroll, who is smart, peppy, and knows much about American government and politics. Molly is a pre-teen who has a serious sense of public responsibility. Molly cares for her wayward father since her mother left when she was very young.
A Presidential election occurs and, Molly sneaks into the voting booth and signs a voter card for her father after he fails to arrive at the voting station before closing time. Then, when the election results are counted they yield a perfect tie with one unfinished ballot that did not vote for the federal offices due to a power outage. The one vote to break the tie has Bud's name on it. He, alone, will determine the next president.
When the news becomes public, news media, lobbyists, politicians, and curious voters descend on Bud's home town like a plague of locust. Into that mess, both Precedential candidates and their staff come to seek an audience with Bud to get his vote.
The scenes are a riot. Pressure groups and politicians come prepared to offer Bud anything he desires in exchange for his vote. The interaction of the many organizations is very funny and educational. This part of the film is a must see for anyone interested in politics .
I highly recommend "Swing Vote". It is a fun movie.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Portrayal of Americans?Feb. 22 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
Swing Vote surprised me, it was actually a decently entertaining movie. I thought it was as well written as it could have been for a movie that is somewhat limited in the direction it could take. There were laugh out loud moments and other moments of pure corniness. Kevin Costner plays a great Drunk and uniformed father but I thought the special role was played by his co star on screen daughter.
The movie fell short in some areas:
#1 once again the portrayal of American politicians whether democrat or republican was harsh and phony. How stupid can we make our president look?.
#2 This would have been better if they cut out the swear words and made it into more of a PG family film. It was right in that gray area where I wouldn't want young kids to watch but it could have been a great movie if they hadn't tried to make it more of an adult hit.
#3 If they actually wanted to make this movie more for adults then they didn't go far enough and they made every single character except for the daughter look too stupid to even live life. Or was that the point?
#4 Personally the way the movie sums up is a little rough. But that is for you to decide.
Overall will you enjoy this movie? Yeah I think so but it could have been better and I think you will wish the same thing? Is it better than a lot of movies out there? Yes so it isn't a complete life waster. Just warning you though it is somewhat enjoyable you will probably wish for changes by the end.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A good solid, though not spectacular, effort at political and family relationship comedyJan. 17 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
My wife and I watched Swing Vote on Blu-ray and found it enjoyable, though not necessarily much more than middle of the road for the overall package.
While the Blu-ray touts high def (HD) picture and sound, the picture quality is nice but not much more than that as unfortunately there is just not much impressive scenery throughout the film to really wow the audience with. What is there looks nice, and there are a couple of what could be called scenic shots, but much of the film takes place indoors and/or is compromised of a bunch of close-up shots of the characters that really drive the film.
The story itself is cute but quite predictable election and family relationship comedy with Kevin Costner and Madeline Carroll. Costner plays the part of a bum that is nicknamed Bud, about to lose his job because he takes too much sick time and can't seem to stay sober enough to get to work on time and/or not make a mess by accident. Getting to work shouldn't be that difficult as his daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll) serves more as his guardian rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, like Bud's work habits, his parenting skills are quite poor and it leaves Molly repeatedly disappointed in his efforts or lack there of.
One of those disappointments comes when Molly is working on a school project that involves watching Bud practice his civic responsibility by voting in the national election. Bud winds up drinking himself into a stupor when he's supposed to meet Molly at the polling place, and Molly takes matters into her own hands (again) and sneaks into the polling place and actual voting booth to register Bud's vote for him. As things turn out the vote is never registered thanks to an error with the voting machine, yet Molly still has the receipt for the ballot. Things go more than a little crazy from there when we learn that the election is a dead heat with the state of New Mexico up for grabs, the same state that (coincidentally) Molly and Bud live in. It seems that even within the county that Bud lives in there's a dead heat, so Bud's 'one vote' must be cast to determine who the next President of the United States will be.
Over the course of the nearly 2 hour running length we see Molly and Bud's relationship warts and all, and we might, just might, also see some growth from Bud as his 15 minutes of fame starts to flame out leaving his friends disappointed and jealous. What makes the film a bit more fun is that viewers are treated to a total lampooning of both of the political parties and their sacred platforms. In the effort to win the one all important vote the political operatives and candidates from those parties (played primarily by Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper) make promises to Bud and steal issues from each others sides so they can demonstrate to Bud why he needs to vote for their side.
Sadly, while I found the film enjoyable, I don't think it would hold up to multiple viewings and therefore rates more of a 'rent it' rating from me rather than a buy it.
Family viewers should be warned that Bud's language is coarse and could be objectionable. Consider the PG-13 rating well deserved.
17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
One clever idea turned into a long, predictable movieJan. 9 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
If you enjoy 2 hours of Kevin Costner acting like a slob and 2 minutes (at the very end) of his heroic customary speeches in which his voice cracks down while defending his less fortunate fellow men, well, this is the movie for you. Personally I found this very similar to ARTHUR in which the prospect of watching the part of a stupid drunk for a long time gets more and more annoying. I also had a hard time buying his wholesome daughter and after watching her Mom and Dad it becomes impossible to understand how she could turn out that wonderful. The movie itself is all one clever idea with very mediocre dialogue, flat jokes and lacking any surprises.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Semi-tragic portrayal by Costner wins through in the endNov. 4 2008
D. M. Farmbrough
- Published on Amazon.com
I was impressed by Kevin Costner here. For this slightly seedy part, he has grown facial hair that makes him look like Ian Botham in his Shredded Wheat advert days, and he does a strange voice throughout the film. These affectations aside, he turns in a good performance as an alcoholic single father doing his best - and well, sometimes not his best, to bring up his daughter alone. His overachieving twelve year-old daughter is sympathetically played by Madeline Carroll, who keeps her part just on the right side of Lisa Simpson.
The story is partly about the family and partly about the absurdity of the democratic system as highlighted in the 2000 US Presidential election. In this film, the premise is that everyone else has voted, and only 'Bud' (Costner's character) needs to cast his vote to decide who becomes the next president of the U.S.A. The ensuing circus as he is courted by Democrat and Republican candidates and their spin doctors is a microcosm of the genuine battle for votes we are seeing played out today. There are good comic performances from Kelsey Grammer (TV's Frasier, here looking more like Bob Hope than ever) and by Dennis Hopper as the two party leaders.
I won't spoil the ending, but it is notable that even though the film pulls no punches in portraying the spin doctors as greedy, opportunist, and cynical, the Presidential Candidates are given a rather idealistic treatment. They come across as genuine people who have somehow been caught up in a party machine that is bigger than them, yet regain their integrity in the end.
It's an entertaining movie, and worth watching for a slew of strong performances. You will have to ignore the constant product placement for Budweiser though.