‘Lottery Ticket’ genuinely funny despite mixed message

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, August 26, 2010 3:08pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

You can tell “Lottery Ticket” means well, and it’s careful to spell out a message to its audience: The lottery takes advantage of poor people and is generally a very foolish way to try to make money.

With that noted, the plot proceeds to catapult itself into motion from the one-in-a-million chance of the hero winning a giant jackpot. Mixed message? Hmm, could be.

The winner is Kevin (played by Bow Wow), a recent high school grad from the Atlanta projects. The movie’s about how Kevin’s sudden windfall affects his community, especially during the long July 4th weekend before he can actually verify his winnings.

The movie focuses less on would-be spongers (although there’s a group of friends who’d like to become Kevin’s entourage), and more on how Kevin must avoid an ex-con who would dearly like to appropriate the ticket for himself.

And, in the fashion of any movie like this, Kevin must learn that the spectacular come-ons of a local bombshell (Teairra Mari) don’t mean as much as the affection of his longtime platonic friend (Naturi Naughton, who played Lil’ Kim in the “Notorious” biopic).

The life lessons about loyalty and staying true to your neighborhood are typical for movies produced by Ice Cube, and “Lottery Ticket,” for all its slapstick comedy, is no exception.

Ice Cube also contributes a supporting performance as a washed-up boxer, a pretty good character turn for the now-graying rapper.

Director Erik White (who wrote the script with Abdul Williams) is smart enough to have something wacky happen every few minutes: bringing in the reliably silly Mike Epps (“The Hangover”) to play a preacher whose style seems modeled after Little Richard, or Charlie Murphy (Eddie’s brother) or Terry Crews (“The Expendables”) to fill in bits of humor.

I liked Bow Wow in the lead role; formerly Lil’ Bow Wow, he seems to be navigating the transition from child star to adult with more naturalness than most. Brandon T. Jackson provides some funny moments as his best friend, and Loretta Devine dithers as his grandmother.

It would be nice to report that “Lottery Ticket” actually stitched together its different ambitions; it wants to be a crazy comedy but also say a few things about life in black communities today. It doesn’t really get there, but the effort — and the agreeable cast trying to put it all over — is worth applauding.

Talk to us

More in Life

Daniella Beccaria / for The Herald

15-month-old Kantu attempts to climb a pumpkin at Stocker Farms in Snohomish on Sunday, September 20th, 2015. Stocker Farms offers a U-pick patch, farm animals and a corn maze.
Best pumpkin patch in Snohomish County

You voted, we tallied, here are the results.

Everett comedian Taylor Clark performs stand-up in 2023 at The Triple Door in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mike Bryk)
Comedian Taylor Clark to film first special Friday in Everett

The skateboarding funny-man will record an hour of his stand-up at the Historic Everett Theater.

Local musician Alex Johnston, whose newest album "Daylight Fooldream" pairs with short film he made with help from his partner Mikaela Henderson, sits with his morning coffee on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Narrative Coffee in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Folktronica musician shoots 37-minute visual album on iPhone in Everett

Alex Johnston, 31, describes his music as ”if Coldplay and Bon Iver had a love child.”

Flowering knotweed Persicaria amplexicaulis firetail in the morning light.
Save for one infamous variety, fleece flowers are easy to fall in love with

This long-blooming, easy-to-grow perennial comes in many desirable varieties. But watch out: One is an invasive knotweed.

A view of King Street Station in Seattle, Washington from an Amtrak Cascades train to Portland, Oregon from Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Ride the rails on Amtrak Cascades from Everett to Portland

Make new friends and let Amtrak do the driving on this 5-hour trip past sea, city and forest.

From left, Elora Coble, Carol Richmond, David Hayes, Karli Reinbold, Giovanna Cossalter Walters, Landon Whitbread in a scene from Edmonds Driftwood Players' production of "Murder on the Orient Express." (Dale Sutton / Magic Photography)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Edmonds Driftwood Players opens its 65th season with Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Some collectibles are found in nature; some imitate them. If it weren’t for the attached figure, this Royal Dux porcelain vase might pass for a real conch shell.
This shell-shaped vase would make a fine souvenir of summer fun

It may not be a real shell, but this art nouveau piece could still evoke fond memories of days at the beach.

Arlington Garden Club celebrating its 90th anniversary

The club has monthly programs for north Snohomish County gardeners and awards scholarships to area students.

Spouses Franchesca and Don Simpson talk about their baby girl’s “chubby cheeks” and “button nose” as Kelly Fox RDMS RVT performs a live-view 3D ultrasound on the expecting mother Saturday, August 26, 2023, at Wonder Baby Ultrasound Studio in Everett, Washington. The Simpsons are expecting their first child in October. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Glamour shots in utero? Everett studio offers HD ultrasound keepsakes

For curious parents, these glimpses are exciting, but not medically endorsed.

Most Read