The title Swing Vote should belong to a movie about a bisexual city councilman who could go either way on an issue. No dice of Kevin Costner being that adventurous in his career choices. Instead hes Bud Johnson, a neglectful father in a mobile home with a daughter who had to grow up fast. What can you say about a dad whose fridge is packed with eggs and beer? He’s getting a “Dad of the Year” coffee mug. When an election goes loopy, Costner turns out to have his messed up vote be the deciding ballot. An election that comes down to a single ballot would be the stuff of fantasy if not for the people of Minnesota living through it.
Its not even really his ballot. His daughter (Madeline Carroll) does a little trick to make it look like he voted and it didnt count properly. He blew off voting to get drunk and play foosball. Im not sure why the kid didnt merely file for an absentee ballot and vote for her drunk dad. Under New Mexico law since Costners ballot was screwed up by a voting machine error, hes allowed to recast it. Since the entire presidential election rests on New Mexicos electoral votes, Costners revote will break the states tie and so goes the nation.
The fate of America depends on an alcoholic, unemployed egg inspector. Is this supposed to be a comedy or a documentary? Or are we just supposed to cry at what democracy has devolved into?
This is an election for president involving Dennis Hopper versus Kelsey Grammer. Really? Can the White House survive Frank Booth or Frazier Crane? This is the reason why we need urine tests for anyone seeking public office. Once they discover Costner is the deciding vote, the parties bring their campaigns to his doorstep.
All efforts are used to sway the man. They bring in NASCAR legend Richard Petty and Weed Wonder Willie Nelson to impress Costner. The president lets him hold the football. Its a three ring circus in the trailer park. They even have Larry King comment on the situation. Chris Matthews of MSNBC gets way too many lines for this fictional film. The media refuse to back away from Costner’s trailer. They must feed the 24-hour news beasts with live footage. Hes getting a tan from the camera lights.
The big problem is this comedy is just too damn long at two hours. Theres a half hour that could be snipped away. There are times this film is as lifeless as a procedural vote on C-Span. Its longer than HBOs Recount which was about a real ballot screw up. It’s not like we need to spend that much time with Costner. This ought to be used as a video in social services classes about what sort of parent needs to have their kids removed. It would be easier to laugh at Swing Vote if Minnesota wasnt in its fourth month of figuring out the vote total for their Senate seat. Reality is more funny and pathetic than this film. A few decades ago, a comedy of this nature would have been made as a movie of the week except theyd cast Dick Van Dyke instead of Kevin Costner. Kelsey Grammar, Judge Reinhold and George Lopez would remain as their characters. Swing Vote takes too long to cast itself.
The video is 2.40:1 anamorphic. The image transfer averages around 35 Mbps. The color is extra bright with a lot of yellow action as if the whole things was shot at magic hour. The audio is DTS-HD. Everything is clear. You can hear democracy clicking away. Theres a Spanish dub in 5.1 Dolby Digital. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.
Inside the Campaign: The Politics of Production (12:57) lets the cast talk about the behind the scenes weirdness. Can this really happen?
“Hey Man, What About You?” Modern West (4:17) is a music video for the song. We get to see Kevin Costners country band! Last year Costner and his band played the Durham Bulls ballpark. Hes better than Steven Segal.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:51) Includes four snipped sequences. Theres a directors commentary option. Frightening to think they really did edit away minutes off the running time.
Director Commentary has Joshua Michael Stern tell you everything about the film. Hes really happy about the film he made.
Swing Vote reminds us that no matter how informed you make yourself about the issues and the candidates, your vote can be completely negated by a drunk dork.
Touchstone / Disney presents Swing Vote. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern. Starring Kevin Costner, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammar, Dennis Hopper, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane. Running time: 120 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: January 13, 2009. Available at Amazon.com