Swing Vote

2008

Swing Vote

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.

38%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 149

41%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 98,256
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Swing Vote Photos

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 world. Though when election day finally arrives and Bud prepares to cast his ballot, his overachieving daughter Molly proves to be the catalyst for a stunning series of events that place the fate of the free world in the hands of a man more comfortable slinging cases of beer -- her father. The two candidates are portrayed by Dennis Hopper and Kelsey Grammer, with Nathan Lane and Stanley Tucci as their campaign managers. George Lopez also stars as a local TV-station manager who has to deal with the political factions as they set up camp in the small town.

Cast

Dennis Hopper
as Donald Greenleaf
Kevin Costner
as Bud Johnson
Kelsey Grammer
as Pres. Boone
Madeline Carroll
as Molly Johnson
Mare Winningham
as Larissa Johnson
Nathan Lane
as Art Crumb
Paula Patton
as Kate Madison
Stanley Tucci
as Martin Fox
George Lopez
as John Sweeney
Bill Maher
as Himself
Mark Moses
as Attorney General Wyatt
Nana Visitor
as Galena Greenleaf
Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman
as Chief Running Bear
Mary Sue Evans
as Mrs. Abernathy
Adam Taylor Gordon
as Justice Brower
Bruce McIntosh
as Father in Classroom
Tom Romero
as Ad Exec
Aaron Brown
as Himself
Matt Frei
as Himself
Mary Hart
as Herself
Larry King
as Himself
Forrest Fyre
as Ted Drake
Sheila Ivy Traister
as Vermont Reporter #1
Jeremy Jojola
as Vermont Reporter
Suzanne Michaels
as Vermont Reporter #3
Cynthia Ruffin
as Boone Staffer #1
Jason Henning
as Boone Staffer #2
Les Shapiro
as Network Reporter
Chance Romero
as Pizza Delivery Guy
Charles Michael Moore
as UPS Delivery Man
Colin Jones
as KNME Techie
Trista Callander
as Commercial Director
Richard M. Dereyes
as Market Reporter #1
Shauna Clark
as Market Reporter #2
Debra-Jayne Brown
as Market Reporter #3
Price Hall
as Market Reporter #4
Olajida Kashu
as Gay Doctor
Jessica Morin
as Gay Female Cop
Tim Janis
as Gay Soldier
Scott Meyer
as Gay Partner #1
Brent Lambert
as Gay Partner #2
Christopher Dempsey
as Secret Service Agent #1
David Meeker
as Secret Service Agent #2
Janeal Arison
as TV Producer
Madelin Whelpley
as Female Student #1
Alyssa Gutierrez
as Female Student #2
David Midthunder
as Female Student #3
Taylor Warden
as Male Student #1
Angelo Martinez
as Male Student #2
Isaiah Bergert
as Male Student #3
Arron Shiver
as Greenleaf Aide #1
Kate Shroeder
as Greenleaf Aide #2
David Dalton
as Greenleaf Aide #3
Heather Hitt
as Greenleaf Aide #4
Todd Lewis
as ET Segment Producer
Dan Gerrity
as Trailer Reporter #1
Cris Ornelas
as Trailer Reporter #2
Esodie Geiger
as Trailer Reporter #3
Constance Hsu
as Trailer Reporter #4
Katalina Parrish
as Trailer Reporter #5
Joshua Michael Stern
as Commercial Director
Tony Stern
as Gospel Minister
Mara Holguin
as Waitress
John Coinman
as Bud Johnson's Band
Blair Forward
as Bud Johnson's Band
Terry Morgan
as Bud Johnson's Band
Larry Cobb
as Bud Johnson's Band
Charles Park Chisolm
as Bud Johnson's Band
Bobby Yang
as Bud Johnson's Band
View All

News & Interviews for Swing Vote

Critic Reviews for Swing Vote

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (92)

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

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity

    CNN.com
    Top Critic
  • The film varies between ironic cynicism about the political process and overt whimsy and sentimentality.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Hayseed nonsense, folksily scripted. Whenever it becomes too much - or too little - close your eyes and think of Frank Capra.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Swing Vote is a benign but telling satire.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Full Review…
  • But away from the cutesy stuff there are some surprisingly sharp digs at the political process.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Guardian
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Swing Vote

  • Aug 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.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 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.
    Jay H 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.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 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.
    Chris W Super Reviewer

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