What if the election of our next president came down to the vote of one ignorant, apathetic American? This is the premise of "Swing Vote" a film starring Kevin Costner at his sloppy, likable best.
If you can go with the contrivances that set this story in motion, there is a sweet subplot about this flaky father and his empathetic, politically adept daughter (played admirably by Molly Johnson.) Madeline realizes that her father, Bud, has become the voice of Americans. She takes this responsibility to heart, while he is too busy enjoying the perks of his new found power. Spineless politicians try everything to sway him to their side - even altering their positions on the issues to match his. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a position. He doesn't even know what the issues are. The media portrays him as the embodiment of America. And America has become a big joke.
The movie tries to go for our patriotic heartstrings, but there's not much at stake for our country. There doesn't seem to be any pressing issues the newly elected president needs to resolve. And since the politicians have no convictions or vision, it doesn't matter who wins. But there is something important at stake for our hero - the respect of his daughter who still believes it's not only our right to vote - but our privilege and responsibility. The premise feels dated - the residue from the 2000 Bush/Gore election and all the dirty politicking that left many Americans apathetic. What may have been a good political satire had it bared some teeth, flashes a decayed sweet tooth instead.