Ultimate Gift

“Feel free to dream, then act on it.”

This life journey drama center on a man’s recent inheritance from his grandfather, Red Stevens, played by James Garner (Maverick, The Notebook). Drew Fuller (Army Wives, Charmed television series) stars as this “lucky” man named Jason who finds new values as well as real friends. Bill Cobb (The Bodyguard) plays the lawyer who executes Red‘s final wishes, which initiates the uneven, but admirable plot.

Rising star Abigal Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) steals the show in a key role as Emily who Jason first meets at a park along with a love interest played by Ali Hillis (Must Love Dogs). Emily boldly prods Jason’s personality and elements of his past, which surprises at first, then audiences understand more as the plot progresses. Jason‘s stereotypical family has many greedy clichés along the simple, slower pace of Jason‘s actions. His journey help map out the theme of this heartwarming experience. Brian Dennehy (Cocoon, Presumed Innocent) also stars as Gus and Lee Meriworth (Barnaby Jones) stars as Miss Hastings.

Red’s lessons helps Jason become a better person – a solid and admirable theme that other films like Pay It Forward never really fully realized. This film doesn’t over step the dramatics either. For example, filmmakers quickly show a subject in a hospital without several close-ups and dramatic music. This subtle technique lends a calm, caring connection to the character and Jason who progresses further as their friendship grows.

The fairly predictable plot (except for the last third) could use some work on the transitions, but get each important life lesson across (the summarizing ending credits help you remember again). The overall stress level is low because Jason can be his own worst enemy along the way. Director Michael O. Saibel (One Night With the King) helms this film, based on the Jim Stovall book. The great soundtrack includes Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Save Somebody.” Recommended (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and mild language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

This entry was posted in 2000s Film Reviews, Film Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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