Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Ultimate Gift (Rating: B)

Don't let the 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes fool you.  The Ultimate Gift is a decent movie that is flawed in places.  By "decent" I mean that the movie is entertaining as opposed to being PAX TV material, even though it really is "PAX TV material".   By "PAX TV material" I mean that it has an uplifting message and is safe for grandmothers to watch.

The story is a familiar one that has been done before:  In order for a young man to receive his inheritance, he  must pass a series of trials that ultimately change his character.  By "done before" I mean "The Billion Dollar Hobo" and "Hercules."  Stories like this are as old as story telling.

Given that the movie is squeaky clean, it borders on sermonizing without actually going there.  For a film like this to work, the characters have to be very likable.  Drew Fuller is likable enough, but James Garner and Abigail Breslin help push the movie into likable territory.  Some of the minor characters, however, didn't impress me very much.

I also think that plot is a little messy, but overall I think that the plot works.  I question the logic and the realism of someone improving his character when his real goal is to get a big inheritance.  I don't buy it, but I also don't have to believe it to enjoy the movie for what it is.

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