It must be a horrible, wonderful thing to be a movie star in this modern age -- rewarded and yet tightly caged by the public's perception of you. Stay within the expectations of the ticket-buying public, and you're likely (or, more accurately, more likely) to not fall off the public's radar; at the same time, that gilded cage must, at some point, feel more and more like a prison. I mention this in talking about Swing Vote because Kevin Costner manages a somewhat nifty trick in his performance as Bud Johnston, a New Mexico ne'er-do-well who, thanks to a close-fought election and a voting machine error, gets to pick the next president. Oh, sure, we all do that on voting day -- but, due to a electoral college tie and a tie in New Mexico, it turns out Bud's vote will be the deciding one. For, well, everyone. Before this is established by Jason Richman and Joshua Michael Stern's screenplay, though, we get a sense of Bud -- and, at first, Bud seems like another in a long line of Kevin Costner likable rascals from Bull Durham's Crash Davis to Tin Cup's Roy MacAvoy. But Bud is something more interesting -- a man whose charm can't quite cover up the holes in his soul. Bud's a drunkard. Bud's lazy. And if it weren't for his daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll), Bud would be even more adrift and frayed. Early, Bud tells his civic-minded daughter that " ... voting doesn't count for a goddamn thing." Bud's the kind of guy who's wrong a lot -- and he knows it -- but, thanks to the gentle contortions of Swing Vote's plot, never more so than now.