The Ultimate Life Review
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When you look at the local movie listings, itís not hard to pick out the movies that will make your heart raceóor the movies that will make you laugh. Movies with a message, meanwhile, tend to be few and far between. But, in The Ultimate Life, director Michael Landon, Jr. offers up a clear message about what truly matters in life.

The Ultimate Life picks up where 2006ís The Ultimate Gift left off. Life seems to be just about perfect for Jason Stevens (Logan Bartholomew). Heís now in charge of his late grandfatherís billion-dollar foundation, and heís planning to propose to the love of his life, Alexia (Ali Hillis). But then things begin to fall apart. His family sues him for control of the foundation, and Alexia leaves to volunteer her time at a hospital in Haiti.

As his world crumbles around him, Jason finds guidance and direction in his grandfatherís old journal.

Films like The Ultimate Life are always difficult to reviewóbecause itís hard to criticize the message. The filmís heart is definitely in the right place, and it offers a valuable lesson about whatís really important in life. For that, I applaud it.

On the other hand, though, itís just not a well-made film. Itís folksy and melodramatic and, well, quaintówith a distinct made-for-TV tone. And while the story does make some good points, it seems as though there just wasnít enough material to support the messageóbecause instead of sticking to the point, it meanders in and out of other storylines, taking time to detail both Redís rivalry with another young man and his early relationship with the pretty young girl who later becomes his wife. This wandering tale is a rather sleepy oneóand, unfortunately, it isnít always that interesting.

Meanwhile, as the years pass on-screen, it becomes more and more difficult to watch Red on his quest to become a billionaireóbecause, in order for the film to get its message across, the character has to become pretty detestable. Along the road to riches, Red becomes increasingly greedy and selfish. He treats the people around him with disrespect, and he generally ignores his wife and kids. He puts his business first (even on Christmas Day), and he uses his giant stack of cash in an attempt to buy the love and approval of his spoiled rotten children. Again, this is all a part of the filmís messageóthat thereís more to life than moneyóbut it doesnít make for an especially enjoyable experience.

A movie like The Ultimate Life definitely has its audienceóand for good reason. Itís a thoughtful movie with a solid moral lesson. If youíre looking for a moving drama with a consistently compelling story, however, Iím afraid this isnít it.

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