Feature

Swing Vote

Joshua Michael Stern’s political comedy chronicles a hotly contested presidential election that comes down to the vote of a good-for-nothing, intoxicated schlub.

Swing Vote
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern
(PG-13)

A presidential election comes down to one vote.

**

Swing Vote isn’t as “idiotic as its trailer made it seem,” said Laura Yao in The Washington Post. Joshua Michael Stern’s film chronicles a hotly contested presidential election that implausibly comes down to the vote of one oft-intoxicated schlub, but it’s not really about politics. At Swing Vote’s heart are “funny, tender” moments between Kevin Costner’s good-for-nothing protagonist and his daughter, played by Madeline Carroll. Rather than comment on the country’s current political reality, director Stern has produced “light summer fare.” But a political comedy really ought to have “some actual, verifiable politics tucked in there somewhere,” said Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. Stern’s film seems not only out of touch but out of date. The premise stems from the 2000 presidential election, so its “insistence that the outcome of the election doesn’t matter is sort of galling.” Even a genial fable such as Swing Vote needs to be rooted in reality, said Richard Corliss in Time. You can’t “rip the political process to shreds” and expect the audience to leave “cheering for democracy.”

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