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Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010 01:02 am

Lottery Ticket comes up a loser

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Trying to channel a Friday-like vibe, director Erik White’s Lottery Ticket sports a premise ripe with comic possibilities, yet lacks the easygoing tone to make it a complete success. Bow Wow, signaling here he’s ready for more adult roles, is Kevin, a young man who buys a lottery ticket on a whim and ends up having millions land in his lap for his trouble. Problem is, the claims office is closed over the long Fourth of July weekend, so he and his grandmother (Loretta Devine) vow to keep their good fortune under wraps.

Well, what fun would it be if they had done that? Soon the whole neighborhood knows and the rats come out of the woodwork, each angling for a slice of Kevin’s financial pie. The young man has his head turned, forgets old friends and discovers some hard truths before realizing what’s truly important.

The supporting cast nearly saves the film as more than a few performers make their turn in the spotlight memorable. Charlie Murphy as the neighborhood gossip steals each scene he’s in, while Mike Epps’ energy as a fast-talking preacher is barely contained by the screen. Ice Cube, one of the film’s producers, is given a memorable cameo in which he plays against type. Ultimately, the film isn’t bad as much as it is lazy, always opting for the cheapest, most obvious joke. Another strike against it is that so many of its characters are stereotypes rather than fully drawn people. Had they been more real they could have generated a more meaningful response. In the end, this Ticket looks like it might be a winner, but ultimately it doesn’t pay out.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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