You can view Lottery Ticket in one of two ways: As a cliché-ridden tale of inner city poverty, filled with warmed over jokes and borderline offensive stock characters. Or as a sweet rags-to-riches ghetto fairytale.
Either way, you’d have a point.
Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) is a nice young man who lives with his gossipy grandmother (Loretta Devine) and works at Foot Locker. On a lark, he buys a $370 million lottery ticket—and wins!
The only problem? The lottery offices are closed for the long Independence Day weekend, so he has to hang on to that ticket and not get swept up in the fortune-fueled frenzy that now follows him.
Kevin has a two best friends, the manic Benny (Brandon T. Jackson) and the girl-next-door Stacie (Naturi Naughton). Once he strikes it rich, he is preyed upon by an avaricious preacher (Mike Epps), the town Godfather (Keith David), the neighborhood thug (Gbenga Akinnagbe), and a snobby beauty (Teairra Mari), who never gave Kevin the time of day until he struck it rich.
All of this stuff is, of course, as broad as it gets, but director Erik White keeps the colors bright, the action swift, and the double-takes aplenty. Bow Wow brings a real sweetness to his role, as does Ice Cube as the—brace yourself—crazy (as a fox) old man who lives under the street. All in all, Lottery Ticket depicts an imaginary inner city where the threats aren’t real and happy endings do happen. For two hours of escapism at least, I can live with that.