While Lottery Ticket has nothing to do with the Barbershop films (except Ice Cube appears in both) it seems to be set up with the same flavorful cast, even the poster looks like it might be a distant cousin. Most of the time smart black comedies contain better, long lasting humor than the redundant white Hollywood movies we see in theaters every other week. However, first time writer/director Erik White adds nothing sensational or compelling to this movie. Lottery Ticket simply runs the gamut of bland predictable phrases and antidotes, it’s over before you know it and no one will be talking about or remembering this movie after the credits.

Young Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) and his grandma (Devine) live paycheck to paycheck. She is a halleluiah, thank you Jesus, no cussing in my house kind of grandmother, while Kevin works at the local Foot Locker, ironing his shoe laces every morning with a smile. When Kevin stops by the local convenience store to play his grandma’s lottery numbers, he gets a ticket of his own that he later discovers is the multimillion dollar lottery ticket. He tries to keep the exciting news a secret, but his gossiping neighborhood finds out fast and everyone suddenly wants to be his friend or try and steal the life changing ticket from him.

I don’t think Devine (Crash, For Colored Girls) is ready for grandmother status just yet, she typically plays strong value types of characters, and while her over exaggerated mannerisms are quite funny here, the script could have easily adapted to her playing the mother figure. Bow Wow (Like Mike, Roll Bounce) who appears to have given up music completely for acting is still not very good at either. His welcoming smile and good guy attitude might seem like a Will Smith type actor in the making, but his range is severely limited. The rest of the cast is strictly by the books, there is one character for each black comedy stereotype including Ice Cube as the mysterious underground profit.

This film alienates its potential for reaching audiences outside the black community by not including a single white person in the film, which is also pretty unrealistic. Lottery Ticket is the kind of movie that if it were on TV and you were trying to find something to watch, you would likely choose something you have already seen. It has no real draw and nothing to offer in the way of great comedy, good acting or 90 minutes of fun, it just plays out for better and usually worse.

Final Thought – About as lackluster of a black comedy as you can get.

Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Jennifer GihowaHHH