THE ULTIMATE GIFT
A Real Gem
Release Date: March 09, 2007
Starring: Drew Fuller, James Garner,
Abigail Breslin, Brian
Dennehy, Ali Hillis, and Ted
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 114 minutes
Distributor: Fox Faith/20th Century Fox
Director: Michael O. Sajbel
Executive Producer: Dave Ross and Rick Eldridge
Producer: John Shepherd
Writer: Cheryl McKay
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch
Peter Chernin, President/COO
The Fox Group
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen/CEO
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
The movie opens when Red Stevens, the wealthy grandfather patriarch of a Texas family, has just died. His sons, daughter and grandchildren are spoiled rotten. Their greed for his billions of dollars is undisguised. There is little love lost between these people. When the grandfather’s lawyer, Ted Hamilton, reads what each one will get, they are furious because there are severe restrictions on each bequest. One grandson, however, Jason, a smart-aleck hipster, is given the opportunity to go on a treasure hunt for the ultimate gift from Red. Spoiled rotten, Jason doesn’t want any part of it, but his greedy girlfriend talks him into at least starting the treasure hunt.
Each stage of the hunt opens with the grandfather Red’s videotaped message to Jason. The first step is for Jason to go to a ranch in Texas run by the grandfather’s former partner, Gus, played by Brian Dennehy. The gift is one month of hard labor on the ranch. Each succeeding gift is an opportunity for Jason to learn something important about the value of life, money, friendship, family, and other cardinal virtues, virtues he never learned while growing up filthy rich.
The storyline of this movie is extremely captivating. At several points in each gift, the movie tugs at the heartstrings. The excellence of the production and the acting is rarely seen in a movie this size. James Garner, Brian Dennehy and the others give superb, dedicated, natural performances. Perhaps the most exciting part of this movie is little Abigail Breslin, who received an Academy Award nomination for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. She teaches Jason about life, death, love, and Jesus. This young actress is terrific. Of course, the rule is when all the elements work together, it is the director and the producer. I do not know the director but I do know the producer, John Shepherd. He has won several MOVIEGUIDE® Awards, and he knows his craft.
One would only hope THE ULTIMATE GIFT will be a blockbuster, but it would take strong word of mouth to do so. If you catch it in the theaters, you will be delighted. As far as MOVIEGUIDE® is concerned, we want to see it again and again with every member of the family. Bravo!
THE ULTIMATE GIFT is a very entertaining, emotional, finely crafted, highly polished gem. It is one of those rare movies that shows you don’t need a lot of money to make a great movie. The storyline is captivating. The movie tugs at the heartstrings. James Garner, Brian Dennehy and the others give superb, dedicated, natural performances. Perhaps the most exciting actor is little Abigail Breslin, who received an Academy Award nomination for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. She teaches Jason about life, death, love, and Jesus. This young actress is terrific. As far as MOVIEGUIDE® is concerned, we want to see THE ULTIMATE GIFT again and again.