Just when you think your vote doesn’t count, it turns out it’s the only one that does. Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner) is a beer-slinging, lovable loser who is coasting through a life that has nearly passed him by. The one bright spot is his precocious, overachieving 12-yearold daughter Molly (Madelaine Carroll), who takes care of both of them, until one mischievous moment on Election Day, when she accidentally sets off a chain of events which culminates in the election coming down to one vote…her dad’s.
Joining the cast are Kelsey Grammar as Republican incumbent President Andrew Boone, and Dennis Hopper as Democratic hopeful Donald Greenleaf. Nathan Lane portrays Art Crumb, Greenleaf’s Democratic campaign manager who has lost seven elections, and Stanley Tucci plays Martin Fox, the slick campaign manager to the Republican President. Paula Patton takes on the role of local small-town TV reporter Kate Madison, who has aspirations for a big-time network news job, and George Lopez is her world-weary boss John Sweeney, who manages their small town TV station.
Director Joshua Michael Stern and writer Jason Richman looked for inspiration in reality – particularly the 2000 US election where an entire nation’s voting of 200 million people could come down to a district in Florida – some 500 votes.
With the real-time McCain/Obama contest presently enlarging on our television screens, Swing Vote arrives with the benefit of perfect timing. Casting Costner’s character, Bud, as an American living on the fringes of society with little sense of the world around him works well, especially with the actor‘s proven common touch coming through. Somewhat over long, this one should satisfy political junkies out there with its sharp take on the kind of people now running political campaigns and exactly how candidates are ‘sold’ to the public.
The story is also helped with the insertion of real-life political commentators like Chris Matthews, Campbell Brown and Arianna Huffington. While Swing Vote may lack the grander style of Primary Colours, in which John Travolta undertook a fair take on Bill Clinton and his foibles, this one goes for a more old-fashioned feel and scores well by knowing its limitations.