“Lottery Ticket” stars not-so-lil-anymore rapper-turned-actor Bow Wow in his first lead acting role since “Like Mike.” As Kevin Carson, Bow Wow gets to portray your average teenage boy from the projects who one day wins a $370-million jackpot. How ironic, considering this is the first lottery ticket he ever bought, and it is a random spur-of-the-moment purchase he makes after being coerced by the store clerk. Anyone care to guess where he came up with the numbers? Why, off the back of a fortune cookie, of course. How convenient. What isn’t so convenient is the three-day holiday weekend Kevin must wade through before the state lottery office re-opens so he can cash his ticket.
Kevin unfortunately confides in his gossipy grandmother (Loretta Devine), who eventually spills the beans to the whole neighborhood. The remainder of the film has soon-to-be millionaire Kevin watching the changes in those around him as his life is turned upside down.
Kevin suddenly goes from Just Another Obscure Kid to The Most Popular Kid On The Block, the one who attracts all the local girls…for all the wrong reasons. Kevin quickly learns that the attention he is getting is insincere, just a grab at his future pocket book. And with fame and fortune comes hatred and crime. Kevin finds it difficult to trust anyone anymore, including his best friend Benny (Brandon T. Jackson), who wisely states: “Money doesn’t change you, it changes the people around you.” The biggest threat comes from the neighborhood ex-con, Lorenzo (Gbenga Akinnaybe), who makes it his goal to get the winning ticket one way or another.
It should be no surprise that Kevin comes out a winner in the end, but he does have some help along the way. Mr. Washington (Ice Cube), an agoraphobic former boxer, almost never sees the light of day, remaining in his basement. But the old man seems to make an appearance or two when Kevin is in need of some help.
“Lottery Ticket” opens with people being asked what they would do with the money if they won the lottery. Kevin works at Foot Locker, and dreams of owning his own shoe company one day, which is where he decides to invest most of his winnings. But along the way, there are lessons to be learned. ”Lottery Ticket” makes some nice statements about not being selfish, helping your fellow man and giving back to the community. However, too little time is spent on these concepts, and the focus tends to remain on all the flashy things Kevin buys with his money: shoes, cars, nice meals, limos…even a helicopter.
“Lottery Ticket” has a script that offers a few eye-rolling moments, but also a few laughs. Unfortunately, the movie is a mere 95 minutes, yet feels like far longer than that. The first half of the film drags, taking too long to get to the point. Had the filmmakers snipped off a few minutes in the beginning or had the laughs hit sooner, it might have been a more viewer-friendly experience. Nevertheless, ”Lottery Ticket” is overall a light, fun movie; but there are far more entertaining summer blockbusters to choose from.