An OJ Movie Review – Swing Vote

SWING VOTE (2008)

(two and a half out of five flags)

Kevin Costners latest movie is about a presidential election that comes down to one man’s vote. Now there’s some vague technicality, and I’m not giving anything away by saying you don’t really know that he’s the deciding vote and I don’t think I’d ruin anything by saying you don’t find out how he votes.

The family dynamics in the film are the driving force in this Disney comedy. Bud is an alcoholic egg inspector with a precocious 12 year old daughter who is desperately trying to hold on to her faith in her father. When he begins to see how much he is failing her, he begins to change.

It really is a very cute movie with some sweet father-daughter moments. There is also a very wrenching mother-daughter moment where you appreciate how functional Bud is by comparison.

It was a bit disappointing that at the moment he’s lost his job at the egg factory because of another late morning start, he laments how he doesn’t have health care for his child. I don’t know what construction work he used to do, or what out-dated technical job he may have used to perform, he doesn’t do it now and he laments not having first world social conveniences. This a perfectly able bodied man unable to give the minimum effort to holding any job and he blames society for the lacking. It steers later into him admitting he is an alcoholic who cant hold a steady job, but then in the next scene he sternly asks “why does it cost so much to live here?”

The really amusing scenes are the two presidential candidates who descend on the town and the horde of media who follow. And just to indicate where Bud is filled in on current events, when he’s asked “What do you think about pro-life? he answers “I love life.” The follow up question: “So you’re pro-life?” Answer: “Isn’t everybody?” And in-sourcing is another funny one. See it and you’ll understand.

Being a former campaign manager and now full-time political cynic, the behaviors of these two campaigns, who now have only this “one man” to campaign for, do not do anything any real campaign isn’t capable of but they do it in a VERY amusing way.

All comes down to a crucial speech before his deciding vote. It’s a Capraesque speech, incorporating big ideas into everyday language, and Costner delivers it with dignity, avoiding various pitfalls easily imagined. The speech doesn’t make anyone very happy, but that’s the idea.

The movie really tries to stay bipartisan, and really exemplifies the notion that politicians will say whatever it takes to get elected.

NEXT MOVIE REVIEW: Oliver Stone’s ‘W’


About Terry Crowley