By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn July 29, 2008 at 1:50AM
Which one's the real deal?
Well, duh. But the problem with Swing Vote, a mediocre Kevin Costner comedy lost in the fog of its own false perceptions, embodies an issue plaguing the American mindset visible in the last clip: Gimmickry replaces content, and clever formulation of rhetoric matters more than the execution of real ideas. As if it weren't enough that Swing Vote rarely finds its comedic stride and lazily cuts to country music montages every scene or two in place of any cogent ideas, the movie becomes a symptom of the national disease it fails to comprehend with an amazingly ignorant finale championing the survival of the political process over its specific details. Huh?
Eisenstein's Potemkin was essentially propaganda, but, after all these years, it still makes viewers believe in the causes -- if fleetingly -- with the careful juxtapositions of symbolism. Swing Vote doesn't encode any revelations in the filmmaking. Made with the classic "invisible" style typical of old Hollywood, this movie yells in your ear with an okay concept and then heads to the kitchen for a glass of water, purging the system. If it's a relic of simpler times, it makes the past look stupid.