"Lottery Ticket" Movie Review (2010)

8/28/2010 Posted by Admin

"Lottery Ticket" Movie Review (2010)

Directed by Erik White, Written by Abdul Williams, 99 Minutes, Rated PG-13

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

It might reinforce every stereotype in the book and it may just be a poor man's "Brewster's Millions," but "Lottery Ticket" manages to overcome a lot of cliche and flat humor and works at least somewhat as an amusing morality play.

On a 4th of July weekend in the projects, teenager Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) must deal with the havoc in his neighborhood when the lucky numbers from a fortune cookie wind up winning him the massive lottery prize of $370 million, which he isn't able to cash in until the end of the weekend.

Together with his best friends Benny (Brandon T. Jackson) and Stacie (Naturi Naughton), as well as a wealth of wacky neighbors, including an old recluse, Mr. Washington (Ice Cube), he must survive the onslaught of greed and threats, as well as decide if he's the type of person who will waste the cash or use it to make a difference in his troubled neighborhood.

The cast is absolutely loaded with great talent begging for better material than they've been given here--Bow Wow and Jackson carry the lead roles pretty well, with Bow Wow proving a good straight man to Jackson's wild charisma. Jackson has pretty easily proven within his last few projects ("Tropic Thunder," "Percy Jackson," "Operation Endgame") that he can rise above sour material, but it would be great if he got a decent role to go along with his talents for once. The supporting cast is pretty great as well--Ice Cube gives one of his better and sweeter performances as Mr. Washington, Gbenga Akinnagbe (probably best known for his fantastic stint on "The Wire") is appopriately fierce as ex-convict Lorenzo, and Charlie Murphy, Terry Crews, Mike Epps, T-Pain, and countless others round out the cast as various people surrounding Kevin after his win.

Thanks to them, a lot of the otherwise mediocre comedy tends to work. But even then scenes drag on and jokes get more and more tired as the movie goes on, and when the jokes come to almost a complete halt and the movie goes into message mode, a lot of the lesser actors can't keep up with it, nor can director Erik White really strike the right tone. I mean, this isn't "Boyz n the Hood," it's basically "Barbershop" with younger leads and housing projects instead of a barbershop.

White does manage to work some nice style into the film without being too excessive, and he stages his more energetic sequences very well. There is also a touching moment here and there, mostly involving Ice Cube's character, when White's not pushing the schmaltz a bit too much.

Really, the film may have done better as a dramedy than a straight comedy, with a lot of the actors showing pretty decent potential for both, but as it is, it's somewhat successful fluff. It's not boring, not too obnoxious and it has a pretty admirable message.

Grade: C

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