Here is a movie that falls in between the good and the bad — it is neither and it is both. The Ultimate Gift is a film that has its heart in the right place but doesn't quite know how to express it in a meaningful way, in a cinematic sense. The message is there, but when it comes to story and characters, The Ultimate Gift is seriously lacking. It is the story of a spiritual awakening, based upon the inspirational novel of the same name by Jim Stovall. The film was released through FOX Faith, a relatively new imprint from - you guessed it - FOX, that focuses on more spiritually oriented family films.
The story centers on the relationship between the recently deceased Red Stevens (James Garner in what he says will be his last film) and his grandson Jason (Drew Fuller). Red was a billionaire tycoon who has left portions of his vast estate to various members of his family, all of whom have been spoiled by money and power. One by one they are doled out little pieces of what Red left behind. When it came to the end of the will reading, the room was cleared until only Jason and the executor of the will, Ted Hamilton (Bill Cobbs), remain. Red retained a special place in his heart for the youngest of the Stevens clan, and he set up his will in a way to bestow upon Jason a series of gifts that would culminate in the ultimate gift.
Jason lives life as he wills, a trust fund baby with the bad attitude to match. For some reason he has a chip on his shoulder in relation to his grandfather. Various family members also hint at animosity between the two, though it never gets any more specific than that. Anyway, Red has left video recordings of himself laying out the ground rules by which Jason must play in order to receive said ultimate gift. The surly young Jason is sent on quests which are aimed at imparting to him a new piece of knowledge about what it means to be a good human being, or rather to teach him something about the real world outside of his life of leisure. He is sent to work for a month on a large Texas ranch, he has his possessions taken away and his accounts frozen, he is also charged with making a friend and being generous. All of these things target him and attempt to make him see the path of his life prior to setting him on this new path.