• PG-13, 1 hr. 59 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Joshua Michael Stern
    In Theaters:
    May 20, 2008 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jan 13, 2009
  • Touchstone Pictures/Treehouse Films


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Swing Vote Reviews

Page 1 of 117
Jay H

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2010
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.
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2008
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.

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2010
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.

Super Reviewer

September 25, 2009
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.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

July 19, 2009
As a fan of Kevin Costner I like to try and see all his movies. It took me a while to get to this one. It's a "never gonna happen in real life" plot but the acting and the simple story telling help make it a good watch.
Costner plays the everyman who is thrust into a situation that he can't handle without the help of his very smart daughter. We've seen this before and this movie doesn't try and change things up too much.
There were a few regular story beats I was expecting for this type of movie and it hits most of them. The ones it doesn't aren't ground breaking and it feels as though it's missing some important scenes that could have made the story a little better.
I do think it's funny that Willie Nelson gets a part of the top billing when we only see him in a commercial on a tv though. I wonder how much they had to pay him for that?
Emily A

Super Reviewer

April 3, 2009
I didn't think I was going to like this movie at all, but I really did. It's about an ignorant American schlubb (the exaggerated everyman) whose daughter is far quicker than he is. The trappings and pettiness of campaigning are also exaggerated here, with the Republican's scare tactics and cross-attack ads being the funniest. The thing I find most refreshing about this movie is that by the end, the filmmakers never pick a side. It ends at the beginning of the Bud-moderated presidential debates, which disappointed me a little bit, but I understand why they did that.

Super Reviewer

December 16, 2008
In this comedy film feels like an antique. It's broad and easygoing, more in tune with Frank Capra's swoony Americana of decent souls fighting the glum machinations of the system. You also get unfashionable Kevin Costner as a slacker portraying the dumb lug in whose hands has landed the fate of the Western World. Costner has a rare willingness to undo his good looks, and he's a charmingly uncouth stooge for the uptight politicos. The father-daughter relationship with newcomer Madeline Carroll, including a cameo from Mare Winningham as the pill-tilted mother, possesses a real-life poignancy. You believe these are real people.
Rico Z

Super Reviewer

August 16, 2008
A better-than-expected political satire with true heart and genuine emotion attached.

It's really great to see Kevin Costner acting in roles that don't require any sort of grandiose scope or reach. It's nice to see him playing an everyman in every sense of the word.

In this one, he plays the drunken, party-boy-who-refused-to-grow-up part to the hilt. But he's got a daughter to worry about and he soon finds himself worrying about lots more things thanks to her and her mischief.

The issues that this film brings up are really resonant in America and its methods of electing officials. The circus that surrounds an election has a way of swaying public opinion in ways that this film points out very clearly--and tries to address from the perspective of a single, loser-of-a-voter.

Definitely check this out before the elections. Surely--and sadly-- not enough people will see it and it may even be out on DVD by then.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2008
every once and awhile someone tries to resurrect the type of film frank capra might have made, and here is one such effort. affable drunken loser costner is only held aloft in life by the efforts of his long suffering daughter, nicely played by newcomer madeline carroll. things change though when this confirmed i-don't-care layabout becomes, in true capra style, the deciding vote a presidential election. at first played for laughs, the inevitable "message" plows homeward by closing time: if even our kids care about the well-being of this democratic society...what about you? well meaning to the extreme, and almost subtily played, you won't absolutely hate it.
Jeff T

Super Reviewer

August 5, 2008
This one's a shocker - sweet, hopeful and truly funny. And featuring a great central performance from Costner. One of the great surprises of the summer.
Jeff B.
Jeff B.

Super Reviewer

August 17, 2010
Not only is the Capra-esque comedy Swing Vote overlong, it is also overdone. During one scene near the very beginning, the drunken apathetic main character literally bangs his head on a sign that reads ?Vote Today.? And the audience, of course, also gets knocked over the head with such heavy-handedness?all through the picture. This overstatement proves unfortunate too?the movie has likeability in spades. If only the writer/director had extended his audience a little credit.

In the PG-13 comedy Swing Vote, Costner plays a laid-back slacker who is suddenly thrust into the national spotlight when the presidential election comes down to one?single?vote. When both candidates (Hopper, Kelsey Grammer) show up in small-town New Mexico, however, this slacker must sober up and make a decision.

And by Capra-esque, this reviewer meant the sentimental works of one of H'Wood?s all-time greatest Golden Age directors, Frank Capra. Not only did this man give moviegoers It Happened One Night, It?s a Wonderful Life, and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, he also gave us Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, a classic piece of Americana pitting one unlikely everyman against the tyranny of crooked politics. Swing Vote delivers a somewhat similar scenario, yes, but it also spoons out excessive amounts of a precocious daughter, an Afterschool Special-type lesson on the importance of voting, and a long running time. A game cast (especially Costner) almost makes this reviewer want to recast his vote. With all of these sticking points reporting, however, the prospects look grim indeed.

Bottom line: Bad politics.
Dannielle A

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2009
I thought this might be a movie full of political proselytism, but I was wrong. I kept waiting for the movie maker's political opinions to come up, but there was no political agenda. The movie did not take sides, it wasn't even about the sides. Both parties received equal bashing and equal honor. The movie poked a lot of jokes at politicians who make promises and then change their views just for more votes. But the movie wasn't about politicians at all... it wasn't even about Bud's daughter, Molly. It was about her dad, a man with a low IQ who doesn't give a darn about his country. He is an ignorant, apathetic drunk who has given up on his dreams and doesn't have a care in the world. He alone must choose who will be president of the United States of America. The ending of this one will surprise you and the journey to get there is quite humorous.

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2010
Bud (Kevin Costner) is a lowlife drunken single parent to his young daughter, Molly whose trail of broken promises and shattered dreams comes to a head when he fails to place his vote in the Presidential election. Molly sees it as important and, while waiting for her father to not show up as usual, sneaks into the polling station and tries to cast her father's vote for him ? only to be foiled by a sudden power outage. She runs home, leaving the ballot in the machine and thinks no more of it. Problem is, the election is a perfect 50/50 split of votes cast and, with Bud's vote technically restricted by the system, he legally has the right to vote again within the next ten days ? essentially putting the result of the Presidential race in his hands. Kelsey Grammar is good as the president and Dennis Hopper plays a believable challenger. I guess this movie is a warning shot to America reminding us all how important it is that we vote and take part in the whole electoral system.

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2009
I'm not sure how a pair of losers for parents produced such a mature capable, confident teenager, but hey, its the movies., so anything can happen, including the decision for next president being decided by one apathetic man during a ten day media circus. Kevin Costner spends 99.9% of the film being frankly rubbish as a father or a voter, and then well, hey I won't spoil the ending but you can guess it anyway, People are good, and a cathartic moment can quadruple your intelligence overnight. There's a few cutting sideswipes at the nature of politics in general and the nature of presidental candidates in particular, but I'm still not sure what Dennis Hopper thought he was doing standing as electorate hopeful (surely half the voters saw him in Blue Velvet? ). Maybe he had a tax bill due.

Super Reviewer

August 22, 2008
Even though Kevin Costner shows some personality we haven't seen before, and the movie has political messages and some touching little moments, you still can't take it fully seriously. It's like watching Larry the Cable Guy give a "we will remember the events of 9-11" speech, yes your acting serious but your still Larry the Cable Guy... you just farted back stage. It's pretty long for this type of movie (2 hours), and it desires to be Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but I'm sorry it didn't work out. I feel effort though, so brownie points, and I'm glad I gave it a shot.
Philip P

Super Reviewer

July 26, 2008
I was happy to get to see this film, it looked interesting and Costner looked like he had a fun character on his hands-although my first impression of the poster made me think it was a documentary and when I saw the trailer I thought it might have been a TV movie, but as I watched it in an uncrowded theater I could not help but smile and be happy I was watching this in a theater. Though silly at times and the Bud character possibly being demeaning to the view that standard Americans have no clue as to what is going on in politics-it still is able to send a classroom lesson that every vote counts and that the people truly are the deciders. And though the audience may not buy the moral lesson Swing Vote tries to relay it is entertaining if not slow at a few parts throughout its running time. Costner does seem to being having a ball and truly believes in his material. Madeline Carroll is heartwarming, especially in the scene with her mother and the presidential candidates as well as their managers are are good for poking fun at the system which how things are done in these days when more money goes into a campaign than actual thought. There are a few fun cameos and overall the film is touching. Costners speech at the end breaks through the convention that any old drunk can clean up his act and make an informed choice. He makes us believe we can stick to our guns and go with what we only hope is the justified best choice.
William G

Super Reviewer

August 1, 2008
An affable election-year fable with genuine conviction behind its political message.
ashley h

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2008
Ok, lets just start out by saying- its a movie, its plot is far fetched,thats a given, but the message of the movie is that of how important taking part in the voting process is.
The whole concept of how Costner's vote becomes so important is one that is hard to swallow, but if you go along for the ride, you will have a great time and be able to examine your ideas on the American political process.
Most of America is the blue collar working class that Costner portrays that struggles paycheck to paycheck (granted I hope they aren't all alcoholics like he is) and like most, sort of feels like 'whats the point of my vote?' He's forced in a grand way, to decide how, what and why he will vote.
Costner is a great actor who has fallen off the acting train in the last 10 years after being the 90's golden boy and really hasn't been able to get back on except for a few here and there. I think this could be his jump start, in a good role fits him well.
I'm a big fan of political satire and what I loved about this movie is that it really stayed politically neutral, that it trusted the audience to be able to look at both sides and see the flaws in both parties. I loved the political campaign ads that were trying to get Bud's vote,although the abortion ad was a bit much, as its just a bit of a touchy subject to joke around with.
The entire cast was cell chosen and worked together well.

My only gripe is that the ending gets carried out a bit much and I wish they would have tightened it up and not tried to throw so much in at the last minute. All in all, a great watch and in an election year where we are bombarded with politicians and dirty politics at its best, its great to have something refreshing and funny that also makes you think about your ideas on voting.

Super Reviewer

February 2, 2008
Absolutely hilarious! Tons of laughter. Here is a story about one man who breaks a promise (to his daughter), and forgets to vote. She tries to complete the ballot until the machine malfunctions. Suddenly, his vote is needed in deciding the next president, and the two presidential hopefuls are vying for his choice. Great cast- Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hooper, Nathan Lane, and Stanley Tucci. Definitely worthy!

Super Reviewer

August 18, 2008
Swing Vote is about a drunk named Bud (Kevin Costner) who lives in a trailer with his daughter. He doesn't take much time to even be a good father or to do anything that doesn't involve drinking. He's forced to use his brain though when thanks to his daughter, his vote is the last one to matter in a Presidential election. She cared more about voting than he did, hell he didn't plan on voting at all.

I didn't care much about the politics part of the story or who he'd vote for. The movie itself isn't really about who he'll vote for. It's about how he has to learn to care about something besides himself. Costner never really gets credit in any of his movies these days. You always basically hear critics say his movies are good because of someone other than him. I admit that the little girl steals the show but Costner was pretty entertaining in the lead. He also has good chemistry with the girl who plays his daughter. I liked the movie because it has charm and a heart.
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