Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
If The Ultimate Gift really wanted to embrace a powerful Christian message, it would've made Jason's ordeal truly threatening and genuinely transformative.
There's an anti-abortion message jammed into one scene with all the subtlety of an avalanche. Just in case you miss it, it's repeated in the credits too. Some gift, eh?
Los Angeles Times:
The film's values are fairly well encoded into the story, such that it feels less like a sermon and more like a film with a good, if somewhat sappy, heart.
Christian Science Monitor:
[James] Garner is good, and so is Brian Dennehy as a crusty ranch owner; Abigail Breslin, playing a leukemia patient, demonstrates that she was not a one-note wonder in Little Miss Sunshine.
The Ultimate Gift is less a theatrical feature than a Sunday night made-for-TV movie brought to you by Hallmark. That sounds crueler than it is: The movie, directed by Michael O. Sajbel, has plenty of charm.
The Ultimate Gift is kind of like a feel-good Saw for churchgoers, minus the sadistic games of death.
It's The Pursuit of Happyness made from the ivory tower looking down, instead of from the street looking up.
New York Daily News:
Has a mercifully light hand in selling its Christian-values themes, but its plodding story about a spoiled young scion who must complete 12 tasks assigned him by his late grandfather is still a slog.
New York Post:
This new film moves along smoothly until Grandpa's most preposterous mission - which needlessly drags out the movie -- takes Jason to a severely caricatured Ecuador.
Funny and moving, and several steps above the Hallmark Channel pabulum that Fox Faith has mostly rolled out up until now.
If you missed the money-isn't-everything message, an end-credits recap outlines the story's salient points -- if you'd known, you could've skipped the rest.
It soft-pedals its religious elements -- discussions of faith and God are fleeting, almost subliminal -- without stinting on the celebration of wholesome family values.
Director Michael O. Sajbel too often succumbs to movie-of-the-week sentimentality and starchy pacing.