Lottery Ticket isn't the mega ball of outrageous comedy, but it's still a winner because of the way director Erik White blends comic lunacy with sweet sentimentality.
Kevin (Bow Wow), a young man living with his grandmother in the projects, is suddenly $370 million richer when he wins a nationwide lottery. His moment of bliss turns into trouble as family, friends and criminals all want a piece of the prize.
Bow Wow has worked in TV and films for several years, but this is the first time he has shown real acting skills as the good-hearted Kevin. He's equally believable as a devoted grandson and a hormone-driven teen.
Without his solid performance, Lottery Ticket would be just a series of silly cameo appearances.
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He's especially good in scenes with Brandon T. Jackson, who plays Kevin's best friend. They're fun to watch as they run from the greedy and share real emotional moments on a lonely rooftop.
The lunacy comes from a first-rate ensemble cast that includes Mike Epps, T-Pain, Keith David, Charlie Murphy, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Terry Crews and Loretta Devine. Crews is particularly funny as a not-so-tough tough guy, but all — from serious actors to stand-up comedians — get a chance to shine.
The director smartly uses Ice Cube for the film's most sobering moments. Ice Cube's portrayal of a broken-down boxer creates a sweet undertone for Lottery Ticket.