Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lottery Ticket

Directed by Erik White.
2010. Rated PG-13, 99 minutes.
Bow Wow
Brandon T. Jackson
Naturi Naughton
Loretta Devine
Ice Cube
Keith David
Terry Crews
Charlie Murphy
Mike Epps
Gbenga Akinnagbe

Kevin (Bow Wow) lives with his grandmother (Devine) in the projects. Through a stroke of luck, they win the Mondo Millions lottery grand prize of $370 million. That probably works out to somewhere between $170 million and $200 million after taxes, but that’s not the point. The point is, they’ve suddenly changed tax brackets. However, before they actually make the jump they have to claim the winnings. The problem with that is its Fourth of July weekend and the claims office is closed until Tuesday. The task then seems simple enough: keep quiet about the windfall at least until Tuesday so the vultures don’t start immediately start circling. As it turns out, keeping quiet lasts about 30 seconds. Of course, news spreads like wildfire and everyone wants a piece of Kevin. Everyone includes Lorenzo (Akinnagbe), the local thug and Sweet Tee (David), the local loanshark. Trying to survive until Tuesday and maintain possession of the winning ticket ensues.

It has its moments. Enough funny things happen between chase scenes to keep us at least mildly entertained. The zany cast of characters are all given their brief chance to shine and usually make the most of it. One of the zanies is the recluse Mr. Washington, played by Ice Cube made up to look like an old man. How ironic that he figures prominently in an ending so clearly inspired by and reminiscent of Friday? It becomes doubly so when you pay attention to Brandon T. Jackson as Kevin’s best friend Benny. He seems to be doing his best Chris Tucker impersonation.

LT is also wholly predictable. We know which girl he’ll end up with, when he’s going to have a falling out with his best friend, when the thug is going to pop up out of nowhere and finally, how it ends. Strangely, we also know that for some reason unbeknownst to any logical human being, he will carry the ticket with him everywhere he goes.

In the end, this is cute and light-hearted movie content to breeze through it’s runtime. It brings up a few things that could’ve lead to more poignant social commentary but never goes any further than just mentioning them. It makes no examinations, only smirks at us as if to say ‘we could do something meaningful here, but we don’t want to’. Like its star, the movie as a whole has an innocent charm that will make it likeable for many. However, its lack of substance or any originality whatsoever means it won’t be particularly memorable.

MY SCORE: 5/10

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