Wholesome 'Lottery Ticket' features Bow Wow making all the right choices

Posted: August 20, 2010

Bow Wow wins $370 million in "Lottery Ticket," and there's havoc in the hood as he's beset by gold-diggers, gangsters, and an overeager entourage.

Will he lose his soul? There's little danger of that in "Ticket," a low-budget comedy that's genial, morally sound and wholesome in the "Barbershop" mode, and that features Ice Cube as a mysterious neighborhood figure who gives the lotto winner useful advice.

The money and the counseling couldn't come at a better time for an overwhelmed Kevin (Bow Wow), who loses his job at Foot Locker when a thug named Lorenzo (Gbenga Akinnagbe) tries to extort free sneakers. Lorenzo gets busted and vows revenge, and when Kevin purchases a winning lottery ticket, Lorenzo decides he wants the ticket, too.

Kevin has three days before he can redeem the ticket (state offices are closed), so he seeks protection from local mobsters (Keith David, Terry Crews), who give him an advance on the money.

So he has cash and a crew, but this creates its own set of problems. Kevin falls under the spell of the easy money, and soon forgets his true friend (Brandon Jackson) and girlfriend (Naturi Naughton). It takes a near-death experience with Lorenzo to get his priorities reordered.

"Lottery Ticket" is at its best in "Barbershop" or "Friday" mode as a good-natured profile of a neighborhood - Ice Cube as the local recluse, Mike Epps as an unscrupulous preacher, Charlie Murphy as a gossip, T-Pain as a mouthy liquor-store clerk.

It's the supporting players who give the movie most of its fizz, while Bow Wow is stuck in a role that's overly earnest as written, and makes for a dull central character. There's little doubt that he'll end up making the right choices, so the movie loses momentum as it nears its climax.

"Lottery Ticket" is actually more entertaining in the early moments, as it indulges in the kind of get-rich-quick lottery fantasies it unconvincingly, in the end, rejects.

Produced by Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Matt Alvarez, Mark Burg, Oren Koules, directed by Erik White, written by Abdul Williams, music by

Teddy Castellucci, distributed by Warner Bros.

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