"Lottery Ticket" isn't the megaball of outrageous comedy, but it’s still great because of the way director Erik White blends comic lunacy with sweet sentimentality.
Kevin (Bow Wow), a young man living with his grandmother in the projects, is $370 million richer when he wins a nationwide lottery. His moment of bliss turns into trouble as family, friends and criminals want a piece of the prize.
Bow Wow’s been working in TV and films for several years, but this is the first time he’s shown real acting skills. He’s equally believable as a devoted grandson and a hormone-driven teen. Without his solid performance, “Lottery Ticket” would be a series of silly cameo appearances.
He’s especially good in scenes with Brandon T. Jackson, who plays Kevin’s best friend. They’re fun to watch as they run from greedy folks and share emotional moments.
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The lunacy comes from a first-rate ensemble cast that includes Mike Epps, T-Pain, Keith David, Charlie Murphy, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Terry Crews and Loretta Devine. Crews is particularly funny as a not-so-tough tough guy.
The director smartly uses Ice Cube for the film’s most sobering moments. His portrayal of a broken down boxer creates a sweet undertone.
* * *
Director: Erik White
Cast: Bow Wow, Brandon T. Jackson, Mike Epps, T-Pain, Keith David, Charlie Murphy
Running time: 1:39
Rating: PG-13; crude humor, language