6 September 2013 4:44 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Both a prequel and a sequel to 2007′s inspirational theatrical bomb (but DVD hit) “The Ultimate Gift,” “The Ultimate Life” once again soft-pedals gentle messages of Christian charity and family values destined to appeal strictly to the converted. Frequent faith-based filmmaker Michael Landon Jr. displays great determination, and even more folly, in his attempt to mount a “Giant”-sized family saga with the production values of “Sharknado.” Terminally dull result faces grim theatrical prospects on its way to endless Hallmark Channel reruns, where it will challenge even the most forgiving viewers to stay awake and alert throughout.

Picking up three years after the events of “Gift,” busy young mogul Jason Stevens (Logan Bartholomew, taking over for Drew Fuller) has hit a rough patch with g.f. Alexia (Ali Hillis), and only a thorough reading of the journals of his deceased billionaire grandfather, Red (James Garner, onscreen for less than a minute), can set him straight. »


- Geoff Berkshire

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