Swing Vote is a film that takes the premise that one person can make a difference with their vote. The movie is partially inspired by the 2000 Presidential election where the voting came down to one state. Swing Vote ups the ante by narrowing the results down to one man, as it also tries to teach the importance of the electoral process and how the media, for good or bad, portrays it.
The film stars Kevin Costner as Ernest "Bud" Johnson, a divorced father whose civic-minded daughter Molly votes in his place due to Bud being drunk and some unrealistic events that allow her to do so. What happens next is due to a voting machine malfunction; the county where Molly/Bud voted will determine who the next president is. Not only that, but because the voting machine became accidentally unplugged while Molly was voting and the ballot got stuck in the machine, Bud’s vote will make his the deciding vote in the presidential election.
So with the election down to one vote, both candidates - the Democratic hopeful (Dennis Hopper) and the incumbent Republican (Kelsey Grammer) - show up to campaign for Bud’s vote. The movie shows Bud in the center of a media frenzy that follows his every move and his reaction to all this attention. Throughout all this, the campaign managers (Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane) are plotting to determine how to win the one vote needed to secure the election.
While Swing Vote's plot is too unrealistic, it shows how people need to vote. This is due in large part to the cast. Costner is great playing the everyman, Grammer and Hopper excel as the candidates, and Tucci and Lane are eerily accurate as the campaign managers who are ruthless in their manipulation of both the system and the candidates. Ultimately, the cast is what really makes this movie succeed.
Swing Vote has several extras. There’s commentary with co-writers Jason Richman and Joshua Michael Stern. In the commentary the duo talk about specific scenes and their overall intentions and is very interesting to listen to. They’re relative newcomers to the business and their commentary relays that enthusiasm.