Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language including a drug reference, some violence and brief underage drinking, 95 minutes
Flat, unfunny "Lottery Ticket" isn't a winner
The chances of winning the lottery are about as good as getting picked up by a UFO, but it seems the chances are even slimmer of making a good movie about it. The sloppy, unoriginal yet mildly enjoyable new urban comedy "Lottery Ticket" comes up short of being a a truly great comic film, relying heavily on broad stereotypes, loud, busy schtick and way, way too many characters to keep track of.
The story follows Kevin Carson (Bow Wow), a young man living in the projects, wins $370 million in a nationwide lottery. Unfortunately, his opportunistic neighbors discover he has the winning ticket in his possession. With help from his best friends (Brandon T. Jackson and Naturi Naughton), Kevin must survive their greedy and sometimes even threatening actions over the 4th of July weekend before he can claim his prize.
The wildly uneven, slight "Lottery Ticket" has an interesting premise: what would happen if someone in the projects won the lottery. What would you do with it? Who would you help? Who would you even tell? Sure, there's some energy and some amusing moments along the way and leads Bow Wow and Brandon T. Jackson make for a solid comic pairing, but that's about the only thing worth seeing in the comedy that stumbles and tumbles down the stretch; some it seems to contrived and just filler, with too many characters we don't care about coming in and out of the film.
Loretta Devine (usually funny but shrill here), T-Pain (can't act), Charles Murphy (too much teeth), Ice Cube (annoying) and Mike Epps (if it's an urban comedy, Epps has to show up somewhere) are among the many mish-mash of stereotypes floating around these projects, and get 'em all together in a silly, predictable climax that takes far too long to get there.
Much like the bland comedy "The Switch," this is the type of late-summer filler starting to be burned off by the studios and savaged by the critics. "Lottery Ticket" isn't the worst film of recent memory (that'd belong to the spoof "Vampires Suck") but then it isn't all that great, either. If I had to choose between buying a real lottery ticket and seeing this film, I'd go buy a snowcone instead. It'll quickly melt if you don't eat it, but at least you'll get a good return on your money.