"Lottery Ticket" Review: Striking it Rich in the (Pretty Nice) Hood

Midway through Lottery Ticket, a teen-comedy-cum-wish-fulfillment fantasy, the movie's hero, Kevin Carson, goes on a spending spree. The holder of a $370 million lottery ticket that he can't cash in until after the July 4 holiday, Kevin, played by rapper Bow Wow, accepts a $100,000 loan from a local gangster and proceeds to spend it all in one night. The theme of this formulaic but vibrant comedy could best be described as a paraphrase of Biggie's well-worn credo. Mo' money, mo' problems — but mo' money, yeah, definitely. Lottery Ticket works best when it uses the housing project to orchestrate zany collisions of broad comic types, all played by familiar faces: the neighborhood gossip (Charlie Murphy), the hysterical granny (Loretta Devine), the avaricious preacher (Mike Epps). Ice Cube plays a retired ex-boxer named Thump, and watching him putter around telling stories of bygone days is a sorry reminder of just how very, very long it's been since Friday, the movie that perfected the template from which Lottery Ticket was drawn.

 
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