Ice Cube has built a successful film career as a producer and actor in large part because he tells stories that he has an emotional connection to, even if the movies themselves don’t seem overly concerned with much more than giving viewers a good time. Lottery Ticket is another example of Cube’s acumen.
The setup is as follows: Hard-working Foot Locker salesman Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) buys a lottery ticket that ends up being worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When he goes with his best friend, fast-talking Benny (Brandon T. Jackson), to collect his winnings at the lottery office, they discover that it’s closed for a long holiday weekend. They plan to lay low for three days, but after Kevin’s grandmother blabs to the neighborhood about his windfall, the two buddies have to stay hidden from loan sharks, religious leaders, and bad guys who will do anything to get their hands on the fortune.
While the script for Lottery Ticket isn’t anything special, the actors give it some life. Bow Wow and Jackson are both eager young performers, and they throw themselves into the material with a commitment that helps sell some of the lame jokes (like Kevin’s persnickety boss), and drives home the two or three great ones (like the high-rolling shopping montage). They can’t quite transcend the material, but they make it play as well as it possibly could.
However, it’s Ice Cube who steals the film as Mr. Washington, a retired boxer living like a hermit in the middle of the projects. The character is full of advice, and Cube’s comic timing is pitch-perfect throughout his too-few scenes. It’s through this character that the movie gets across the big message -- the importance of taking care of your neighborhood and your people. Sure it’s a facile feel-good way to try to pin some substance on this otherwise breezy comedy, but it’s welcome -- as is the sneaking suspicion that Cube likes getting a chance to take a swipe at all the people who probably started hitting him up for money when the bucks started rolling in from his N.W.A. days.
Lottery Ticket isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s filled with fun little cameos and likable performers. And, if nothing else, it shows yet again that Ice Cube got rich because he’s smart and talented, not because he hit the lottery.
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- Released: 2010
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Ice Cube has built a successful film career as a producer and actor in large part because he tells stories that he has an emotional connection to, even if the movies themselves don’t seem overly concerned with much more than giving viewers a good time. Lot… (more)