Swing Vote

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Kevin Costner as Bud Johnson
Madeline Carroll as Molly Johnson
Paula Patton as Kate Madison
Kelsey Grammer as President Andrew Boone
Dennis Hopper as Donald Greenleaf
Nathan Lane as Art Crumb
Stanley Tucci as Martin Fox
George Lopez as John Sweeney
Judge Reinhold as Walter
Mare Winningham as Larissa Johnson

Special Features:
Inside The Campaign: The Politics Of Production
Deleted & Extended Scenes (With optional Director’s commentary)
Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Joshua Michael Stern And Writer Jason Richman

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language Track
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 120 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Bud Johnson’s an ordinary dad drifting through life, caring about nothing except his overachieving daugther Molly. Trying to encourage him to get involved, Molly accidentally sets off a chain of events on Election Day that ends with the presidential race coming down to one vote — Bud’s. Comedic chaos ensues as Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci and George Lopez give all-star support in a witty and uplifting film.”

“Swing Vote” is rated PG-13 for language.

Mini-Review:
I thought releasing “Swing Vote” in the middle of the election might be a bad idea. After all, the American public would more than likely be totally burned out by the election. Why watch a pretend election in theaters when the real one was blitzing you from every media source imaginable in the real world? I thought watching this in January well after the election might help. I was wrong. I still found the fictional election, campaigning, and political commercials to be just as tedious as the real ones and I was counting the minutes till it was over.

“Swing Vote” has a noble purpose. It shows how politicians will do anything to get into office. It shows how the media will do anything for a story. It shows how jaded the voting public is and how citizens should take their responsibility more seriously. Despite the noble intentions, the film simply can’t overcome election burnout. Matters aren’t helped any by the fact that Kevin Costner simply isn’t likable as Bud Johnson. He’s not Joe the Plumber. He’s Joe Six Pack. He’s foul mouthed, rude, stupid, drunk, and irresponsible. He’s a poor parent and if he was caught being irresponsible, CPS would have taken his kid away from him (a fact acknowledged in the film). It’s a little hard to root for the guy. Toss in the fact that the movie runs 30 to 45 minutes too long and you don’t have an enjoyable film.

“Swing Vote” still manages to do a few things right. There are some great scenes where the Democrats and Republicans do anything to win Bud’s vote. They go so far as to switch their platforms to woo him. The Republicans run ads supporting gay marriage and environmental causes. The Democrats run ads against abortion and immigration. These scenes provide most of the laughs in the film. “Swing Vote” also features a strong supporting cast. Madeline Carroll is very impressive as Molly Johnson. I think this is a young actress you’ll be seeing a lot of in the future. She handles her role very well and holds her own against Costner, Tucci, and Grammer while still seeming like a real kid. Paula Patton is also noteworthy as reporter Kate Madison. She’s both beautiful and a solid talent. Rounding out the cast are Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez, and Judge Reinhold.

I’d recommend “Swing Vote” to fans of political satire and fans of Kevin Costner. Unless you fall in either of those two categories, election burnout will probably keep you from enjoying this film.

This DVD is rather light on bonus features. It’s your standard stuff – a commentary (without Costner), deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette.

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