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Swing Vote (2008)



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

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
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 21

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



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Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 98,165

My Rating

Movie Info

When the mischievous antics of a precocious 12-year-old girl result in the outcome of the United States presidential election hinging on the vote of her apathetic, likable loser of a father, the man who thought that life had long since passed him by is reluctantly thrust into the national spotlight in this political-themed comedy starring Kevin Costner. Bud Johnson (Costner) is your typical American -- a simple man and loving father who never would have thought he had the power to change the



Joshua Michael Stern, Jason Richman

Jan 13, 2009


Touchstone Pictures/Treehouse Films - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Swing Vote

August 18, 2008:
Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer Sued for Cribbing Swing Vote Script
Former Bush assistant and political pundit Bradley A. Blakeman claims the political comedy, in...
August 3, 2008:
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The Dark Knight won't losen its grip on the box office gold, but the Mummy is a very close silver.


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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.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop 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.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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 IconTop Critic

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

August 2, 2008 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop 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.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

August 1, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source:

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

December 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Florida Times-Union
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.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times
Washington Times

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

June 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

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

March 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

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

January 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central | Comment (1)
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.

January 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

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

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

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

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
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.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
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.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

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

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
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.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

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

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
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.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
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...

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
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.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Swing Vote is a benign but telling satire.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
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.
July 30, 2010

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.
March 27, 2010
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.
September 25, 2009
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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