What if the fate of the US presidential election came down to the vote of one man? This is the premise rolled out in this pleasing comedy directed by Joshua Michael Stern. Bud (Kevin Costner) is a trailer-trash father being looked after by his 12 year-old daughter Molly, who, in defiant rebellion to her sloth-like parent, is passionate about the election. A chain of events means that after Molly’s well intentioned deed to vote for her dad goes wrong, Bud’s vote will swing the election one way or another. Cue the entire election carnival turning up on Bud’s doorstep to try to convince him to cast his vote their way.
With Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer as the pretty inept incumbent and Dennis Hopper as the Democratic contender and a raft of American political pundits all playing themselves, Swing Vote punches well above its low budget weight. Stern and screenwriter Jason Richman avoid getting embroiled in party politics by showing both parties are just as bad as each other, as they throw more and more temptation Bud’s way. Wise and warm-hearted in the broadest sense, Swing Vote takes the one man, one vote principle to its most extreme and holds a mirror up to what passes for democracy in the most powerful nation in the world. This simple, liberal, egalitarian political comedy was, unsurprisingly, a huge flop in its home country – it may fare better with European audiences. Following on from his work (as director and star) in 2004’s excellent western Open Range and some interesting acting work in The Upside of Anger and Mr Brooks, Costner cinematic redemption continues.
General release from Fri 26 Sep.