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The Ultimate Gift

Pretty hoky stuff
By TOM MEEK  |  March 14, 2007
2.0 2.0 Stars
THE HEART OF THE SERMON: Abigail Breslin's performance is on tap.
Stingy are the rich, as we know from Ebenezer Scrooge and even Bill Gates before he became a crusading philanthropist. Same thing here in this maudlin life lesson with Christian overtones. Jason (a generic Drew Fuller), the slacker grandson of late oil tycoon Red Stevens (James Garner), has a shot at the patriarch’s billions if he can pass a few tests. (His mother and his uncles get passed over because they’re ne’er-do-wells.) The “gifts” include physical labor, homelessness, friendlessness, and fighting druglords in Ecuador — pretty hoky stuff made hokier by director Michael O. Sajbel’s shaky hand. The good news is that Little Miss Sunshine, Abigail Breslin, is on tap as the spunky girl afflicted with leukemia whom Jason befriends. He also falls for her Jennifer Aniston knockoff of a mom (Ali Hillis). You can’t argue with the heart of the sermon (based on Jim Stovall’s “inspirational” novel), but still, how did the venerated Red raise such a phalanx of avaricious assholes to begin with?
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