When he wins the Lotto, Kevin loses nearly everything - friends, family, community - as everyone from the local ganglord to his pastor tries to get his fingers on the winning ticket. Kevin can't redeem it because it's a holiday weekend.
In the cartoonish film directed by Erik White from a screenplay by Abdul Williams, what ensues is a slapstick skirmish between temptation and caution with Kevin's soul as the battleground. Everybody wants a piece of him. The prospect of money makes everybody silly. Who can he trust?
Not the gang lord (Keith David) who advances him a bundle - with strings attached. Not the bully, Lorenzo (Gbenga Akinnagbe), who plans to beat Kevin up and steal the ticket. Not the hoochie mama (Teairra Marri), who angles to guarantee herself an annuity by becoming his baby mama.
Support comes from his friends Stacie (Naturi Naughton) and Benny, but also from an unexpected corner. Mr. Washington (Ice Cube), a recluse who lives on cherry cola and beef jerky, reminds Kevin that community is not a place to escape, but to uplift.
(Cube Vision, the actor/rapper's company, produced the movie.)
Like Kevin's lucky fortune cookie, Lottery Ticket is a sweet treat with a substantive message.
Lottery Ticket **1/2 (out of four stars)
Directed by Erik White. With Bow Wow, Brandon T. Jackson, Loretta Devine, and Naturi Naughton. Distributed by Warner Bros.
Running time: 1 hour, 35 mins.
Parent's guide: PG-13 (profanity, sexuality, violence)
Playing at: area theaters
Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey
at 215-854-5402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/philly/