Swing Vote - DVD Review

'as a social drama, it's as flat as Costner's accent'

Fact: there are too many people in Swing Vote. For a film that is meant to be about one man and the decision he has to make it seems a bit of an oddity that, in the end, one of the primary reasons that it fails is because there are too many characters. Witness the following list of supporting players; Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane as advisers to The President and The Candidate respectfully, Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper as said combatants, two small celebrity cameos from Willie Nelson and Richard Petty, an editor in the JK Simmons mode of shouty, a good-but-is-she-really journalist, a Secret Service Agent who befriends said man's child and two workmates of said man, one of whom played by Beverly Hills Cop's Judge Reinhold. Phew.

All of these characters fawn, deceive and generally relate to Kevin Costner's Bud who by a string of coincidences and some manipulation by his erstwhile daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll) finds himself having to cast the single vote that will decide the next United States President. It's a preposterous plot but one which is easy to overlook as the McGuffin that sets in motion all the various interactions with the above players. The problem, other than the fact that there are too many of the above, is that these interactions just aren't that interesting. The four political players for example (Hopper, Grammar, Lane and Tucci) are completely indistinguishable from each other. President and potential President have some campaign ideals but seem to flip and change when necessary without a moments thought. Lane and Tucci have next to no back story whatsoever and basically play exactly the same character. It's just not fun to watch the same thing twice within a matter of moments.

Some of these (Secret Service guy) are introduced too late for you to care about them whilst others (reporter/love interest) just don't feature enough to really matter to anyone, least of all me. Costner tries to tie it all together with ample support from Carroll but even his Bud is ridiculously annoying and never really shows enough regret or positivity to turn him into the good guy after all is said and done.

There is a nice emotive speech at the end from Costner (although it is completely out of character) and some interesting moments that the film really doesn't have time for (Molly's mother in particular) but in all it rushes too quickly from point to point without a care for anything. The premise could and perhaps should be remade as a satirical comedy (are you listening Armando Iannucci?) because as a social drama, it's as flat as Costner's accent.

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