Swing Vote

Rated 2.0

When an election-night glitch leaves the American presidency up to one New Mexico trailer-park rube (Kevin Costner), the candidates (Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper) trip all over themselves—and their campaign principles—to score his vote. Media mayhem ensues, with much speechmaking, self-satisfied pundit cameos and a civics crash course from our unhero’s disappointed but oh-so-precocious young daughter (Madeline Carroll) and the eager reporter (Paula Patton) who broke his story. Director Joshua Michael Stern, co-writing with Jason Richman, comes off as a cut-rate Capra, aiming for aw-shucks heartlandicana and contriving toothless, safely nonpartisan satire. John Debney’s heartstring-yanking score doesn’t help the clunky pacing. The whole enterprise, including Costner’s uneven performance, does get better and more absorbing as it develops. But not enough to be meaningful.