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.
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.