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Swing Vote (2008)


Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 146
Fresh: 55
Rotten: 91

Critics Consensus: Despite Kevin Costner providing his most charismatic performance in years, Swing Vote fails to find the right mix of political satire and heartfelt drama.

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 17
Rotten: 21

Critics Consensus: Despite Kevin Costner providing his most charismatic performance in years, Swing Vote fails to find the right mix of political satire and heartfelt drama.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 98,175


Movie Info

Kevin Costner stars as a single father who becomes a media sensation when it's revealed that his vote and his vote alone will determine the outcome of the hotly contested presidential election. Neverwas director Joshua Michael Stern helms a screenplay he penned in collaboration with scribe Michael Richman.

PG-13 (for language)
Directed By:
Written By:
Jason Richman , Joshua Michael Stern
In Theaters:
Jan 13, 2009
Box Office:
Touchstone Pictures/Treehouse Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Swing Vote

All Critics (151) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (55) | Rotten (91) | DVD (15)

It's a sentiment Capra might well have echoed, though he would surely have punched up the gags while he was at it.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

He shoots simultaneously for 'wake up, America!' inspiration and good ol' boy charm but ends up putting both barrels through his own cowboy-booted foot.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Not a bad movie, probably OK to rent on DVD, but I'm saying don't rush to the theaters.

August 4, 2008
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

It is neither appreciably better nor dramatically worse than its hokey, please-describe-me-as-'Capraesque' premise.

Full Review… | August 2, 2008
The New Republic
Top Critic

One minute you're laughing at its sendup of the political process, and the next you're stricken by the sorry state of the sweet and brainy protagonist's family.

Full Review… | August 1, 2008
USA Today
Top Critic

One of the most surprising, politically suggestive movies to come out of Hollywood this year.

August 1, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Swing Vote has its moments, especially when Grammer or Hopper are around, but it's trying to do too much ... there's so many ideas floating around in there, it all ends up being very shallow.

Full Review… | April 1, 2011

People like to make fun of Kevin Costner, and sometimes he deserves it. But when he gets his laid-back, rascally mojo going, he can become a most agreeable screen companion for a couple of hours

Full Review… | December 24, 2009
Florida Times-Union

Swing Vote seems to be suggesting that the voter deserves a better class of candidate; allow me to suggest that the viewer deserves a better class of film.

Full Review… | August 30, 2009
Washington Times

...a thoroughly affable piece of work that makes up in easy-going entertainment what it lacks in plausibility.

Full Review… | June 18, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

It's a predictable, feel-good fantasy in the mould of a political satire and the result is a good one.

Full Review… | March 5, 2009
Urban Cinefile

Swing Vote suggests that a few hours of cramming is enough--our brief run-in with Palin confirms that it's not.

Full Review… | January 14, 2009
Film Freak Central

Goes for cheap laughs with its politics, but wins back at least some respect when it presents its central characters as real people and their issues as immune to instant cure.

Full Review… | January 6, 2009
Apollo Guide

I's unclear how we're supposed to respond.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A film that never seems entirely sure of what it's really about.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Q Network Film Desk

Costner does what he can with a role that is described as lovable, but I didn't find him so. Bud's a loser, nearly a bum, and even the expected turn-around didn't ring true for me.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
San Diego Metropolitan

Depictions of the spineless presidential hopefuls (Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper) and their campaign managers (Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane, respectively) offer standard-issue political satire.

October 18, 2008
Palo Alto Weekly

Watchable, well acted satirical drama that starts well but quickly loses its bite and tails off into sentimentality and a cop-out ending.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008

The film varies between ironic cynicism about the political process and overt whimsy and sentimentality.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
This is London

What starts out as a hokey satire on electioneering and spin becomes a hokey lesson on civic responsibility, with a catch in the throat and a tear in the eye. Try to suppress the curl in your lip.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008

Hayseed nonsense, folksily scripted. Whenever it becomes too much - or too little - close your eyes and think of Frank Capra.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
Financial Times

While not without its charms, and aiming a well-placed dig at American voter apathy, the jokes don't work, Costner looks hungover for real and the corn count is way, way too high, particularly during Bud's big speech at the end.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
Daily Mirror [UK]

Election-year pertinence turns to mush in a winsome feel-gooder that wastes no time ramming its wholesome message down our throats. Oh, and did we mention that Kev gets to sing with his band Modern West? What a load of ballots...

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
Total Film

The cynical vote-chasing ploys of the political machines are cheekily spoofed....and then the grand conceit is deserted and the whole caboodle slides into a tacky vat of sentimental, flag-waving gloop.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
Sky Movies

Swing Vote is a benign but telling satire.

Full Review… | September 26, 2008
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for Swing Vote


The only redeeming quality of this sad, sad excuse for film is the potential of the young Carroll, however poorly the laughably puerile script may have utilized her ability.

Jay Hutchinson

Super Reviewer


Not as bad as most people make it out to be. Yeah, not the best movie around, but it did have its' funny and sweet moments.

Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

A funny farce that is also quite touching and very Capraesque. The central gimmick is not really possible (more than likely), but the film explains it in a way that almost makes it believable. The ending is not important. The journey matters more than the destination.

The large and notable cast (including numerous cameos) are terrific. Costener is great, but Madeiline Carroll gives the stand out performance. Do yourself a favor and see this funny and inspiring tale about personal responsibility, and why it matters to not be apathetic.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


In spite of a pretty darned good performance by Costner, the film is pretentious, overblown, unbelievable and just plain obvious.
Problems: Costner's charactor the "average Joe" (not the plummer) - an alchololic slacker has a daughter that is consciencious, overly brite and more mature than he is. Hmm, must be mom's genes? Nope, she leaves the family to persue a career as a country singer (so not a rocket scientist either).
I simply did not feel it was possible for the daughter to be who she was with the kind of parenting she had.

There are a few witty scenes lampooning the political process and how far we've all fallen in the media age (reminded me vaguely of "wag the dog"); where it becomes not about the issues but about who comes off better on tv.

Kelsey Grammer does a good job as the reigning president, a baffoon on the surface, but revealing a deeper, weary of the games, side that is poignant.

Dennis Hopper is wasted as the "opposition", and Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane have not much room to operate as the opposing campaign managers.

That a couple of 12 year old kids can go driving around, even in a small town, is absurd - as is the entire premiss of the film.

When the film does finally take a detour into the darkness of humanity; having the daughter arrive on Mom's doorstep, only to find out that she is a drug addict and doesn't want her around - it takes one riviting scene and then backs out of the situation completly once Costner shows up. Sad - but even with a few more well thought out scenes like that one, the film is still a mess - trying to thrust the local hispanic reporter into the mix as a potential buddy/love interest, like so much of the film, is simply misguided.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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