The inspirational drama "The Ultimate Life" wears its heart on its sleeve so earnestly that it's easy to forgive the movie's heavy moralizing.
The movie's a sequel and prequel to the 2006 weepie "The Ultimate Gift," which centered on a young heir, Jason, tasked to do good deeds in a videotaped will left by his rich grandpa, Red (James Garner).
Now, Jason (played here by Logan Bartholemew) is overworked running Red's charitable foundation, not making time for his girlfriend, Lexi (Ali Hillis), a nurse who is volunteering for a mission to Haiti. As Jason battles Red's greedy heirs in court, he learns more life lessons by reading Red's journal. The flashbacks of Red (Drew Waters) amassing his fortune, but neglecting his family, form the bulk of the story.
Director Michael Landon Jr. is an old hand at this uplifting material, and he brings an easy warmth to Red's hardscrabble beginnings and his ultimate redemption. .
'The Ultimate Life'
Opens Friday, Sept. 6, at area theaters; rated R for a brief battle scene and mild thematic elements; 102 minutes.