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Swing Vote Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Paints a surprisingly sour portrait of nearly all its characters, so much so that even the final-reel redemption rings hollow and forced.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Costner (who's also a producer) plays to his middle-aged strengths in a role that exaggerates male weaknesses.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This reasonably entertaining movie falters by trying to be both a dark comedy and a sentimental treatise on family and country.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Swing Vote marries mild satire with Capra-esque melodrama in a formula that works surprisingly well.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The movie is a genial comedy, but it has significant undertones. Like some of Frank Capra's pictures.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Lots of booze in mostly winning political comedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this comedy has a young protagonist and could serve as an entertaining -- if superficial -- introduction to the political process, most kids probably won't be that interested. Maybe just as well, since the central character is a booze-guzzling loser who's downright neglectful of his 12-year-old daughter, especially in the beginning of the movie. There's also an allusion to drug use, lots of strong language ("s--t" and the like), and some stereotypes.

  • Families can talk about how Bud's drinking affects his life and his role as a dad. What are the real-life consequences of drinking too much? Families can also discuss the political process. Is the movie's premise -- that every vote matters -- true, or is there some validity to Bud's pronouncement that votes don't count? What's behind the apathy that many Americans feel toward elections in general? How does the media impact people's impression of the political process and their feelings about voting

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A father neglects his daughter because he drinks way too much and appears unaware of how his boozing is hurting her. He's also apathetic and irresponsible, taking his daughter out of school because he wants to spend time with her -- even if she doesn't want to. He makes promises he can't keep. But in the end, he seems to have seen the light. A mother appears to not want to have anything to do with her daughter because she'd rather work on her music and has a drug problem. A teenager takes on way too many grown-up responsibilities because neither one of her parents is stepping up to the plate. Another young teen drives his father's car when the older man is passed out drunk. Some stereotyping, particularly involving political parties and politicians.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: A man kicks an empty beer can in frustration; he also yells at a stranger leaning on his car. His neighbors jeer at him and make fun of him, as do TV pundits, but it's a war of words, not violent actions.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A few allusions to Bud having fun with women as he becomes more high-profile. Some mild flirtation.

  • language false3

    Language: Runs almost the full gamut, from the arguably mild "damn," "crap," and "hell" to stronger words like "s--t" and "son of a bitch."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Frequent and notable, from TV network logos (CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and more) to Bud's favorite drink (Bud Light, of course), as well as other beer brands (Michelob), UPS, Dodge, and Old Spice. Cameo appearances by many well-known celebs and politicos, from race car driver Richard Petty to Arianna Huffington.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lots of beer swilling at all hours of the day, and allusions to one character's drug addiction. Alcohol affects Bud's behavior and his abilities as a parent. A character passes out drunk.