Lottery Ticket Directed by: Erik White Cast: Bow Wow, Brandon T. Jackson, Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Charlie Murphy, Mike Epps Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: August 20, 2010
PLOT: A young man (Bow Wow) and his grandmother (Devine) attempt to keep a coveted winning lottery ticket in their possession for a long weekend before it can be cashed in.
WHO'S IT FOR? Being a fan of the cast members' previous comedic work would be a great advantage towards possibly enjoying Lottery Ticket.
EXPECTATIONS: The wide cast had me optimistic that this movie could bring in a wide variety of laughs, along with a story that makes for an interesting, but altogether slightly impossible predicament.
Bow Wow as Kevin Carson: He might be less reputable acting-wise than his co-stars, but he can still do a decent job of carrying this movie, and pushing it forward. Kevin becomes a likable character, despite his lack of truly funny events. A guy truly with mo' money leading towards mo' problems, Bow Wow plays this character with as much coolness as possible. Score: 4
Brandon T. Jackson as Benny: Friend to Kevin, Benny is the "wacky sidekick" who assists Kevin the most in his strange course of events. A tad more of a klutz than Kevin, Benny also has an admirable serious side to him - he is the one who seems to believe more in the potential of the community than Kevin. Having played the "sidekick" part before, Jackson has been more amusing in other roles, (even Percy Jackson) but he does an OK job here. Score: 4
TALKING: A movie well-immersed into the communal aspect of the projects, Lottery Ticket does not hesitate to use bits of slang that just might alienate some parts of its audience. The biggest laughs from dialogue in the film come from T-Pain's smart-talking, quick witted convenience store clerk. Score: 6
SIGHTS: Just a week after Sylvester Stallone enlisted a group of top-name actors for his action movie, The Expendables, the urban comedy presents its own version with this hugely cast production. Making appearances in this communal film are Bill Bellamy, T-Pain, Keith David, Naturi Naughton, Charlie Murphy, Ice Cube, Loretta Devine, Mike Epps, and Terry Crews. And yes, thankfully Crews has a bigger part here than he did The Expendables. Score: 5
SOUNDS: Bow Wow adds his contribution to a legacy of “my hood” rap songs with his own tune that plays during the credits. The rest of the movie is populated with popular hip-hop performers like T-Pain and Drake. Score: 4
BEST SCENE: Ol' Man Cube (it feels weird just typing that) pops to deliver an ice cold punch in the third act, a moment that makes for the most amusing event of the entire film.
ENDING: The "Moses of the Projects" comes through with his promise.
QUESTIONS: Why didn't Kevin just use the money given to him before the ticket was cashed in to go to another state? If he really wanted to, he could have spent the cash somewhere else without having to worry about being "trapped" by any of the folk in the projects. And yes, why didn't he just give the ticket to his grandmother?
REWATCHABILITY: There's probably not enough jokes to keep a person laughing during a second time. Maybe in a few years I will revisit Lottery Ticket in order to double check my true feelings about it.
Considering the wealth (or lack thereof) of Lottery Ticket's humor, it is possible for a movie to credit a disappointing lack of laughs towards its reaching for a more dramatic angle. This isn’t the case with the failing comedy of Lottery Ticket, which does have its serious moments. The movie can’t hide the fact it’s missing the proper amount of jokes, especially with the star power that it's pushing.
Lottery Ticket is a mostly worthless fantasy that can only be valued for its representation of community. With a well-organized cast the film offers enough familiar faces to create a sense of extended family within a development which is rare in mainstream culture. What isn’t rare is the dream of extravagance, which Lottery Ticket takes on with little heart, and morphs its story around in order to create unhealthy ideals. The lesson of the movie is not so much, “Be Grateful,” but instead, “Be Greedy.” Eventually the idea of helping community becomes a back thought, despite their support with the story’s course of events, and Kevin's journey towards living a dream. As Brandon T. Jackson’s character Benny says about rappers, “What are they giving back [to the community] other than shout outs?”
When I watch this film, I am reminded of a saying that seems all the more true, and will be true especially with reasonably pointless movies like this - "The lottery offers false dreams, and is made to keep poor people poor." And where did I hear that quote from? Oh, right. Lottery Ticket. Cha-ching.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10