GENRE: Rags to riches comedy.
THE PITCH: Kevin Carson (Bow Wow), a hard-working shoe salesman from the projects discovers he just won the $370 million lottery jackpot. The only problem, it's the Forth of July weekend and the ticket can't be redeemed for three days. As word spreads of his newfound fortune, it takes clever tactics and true friends to see him through until the ticket can be redeemed.
MONEY SHOT: The climatic fight between Kevin and ex-con Lorenzo (Gbenga Akinnagbe) over the winning lottery ticket has heart, a few good punches and a satisfying resolve that unfortunately would be a spoiler to reveal much else.
BEST LINE: Kevin's best friend Benny (Brandon T. Jackson) quips, "Just because you spell your name backwards, its still James" to the neighborhood informant, Semaj (Charlie Murphy).
WORST LINES: The entire sermon from Reverend Taylor (Mike Epps) after he shares how Kevin's fortune can give him (oh, and the church) the lifestyle they deserve. During his pulpit rant, he trashes his ex-wife, his house, car and even their current place of worship.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: While theres no products shown in the film to mention, there are a few well-known locations featured. Kevin is a dedicated and knowledgeable Footlocker employee. His best girl friend Stacie (Naturi Naughton) is leaving the projects to attend college. In the final scene, she's wearing a Spelman College sweatshirt.
ON LOCATION: The housing project (The Atlanta Housing Authority asks the name not be mentioned) off Northside Dr. where the film was primarily shot was torn down earlier this year.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Neighborhood gold digger, Nikki (Tieirra Mari) sets her sites on the new millionaire Kevin and easily coerces him to her bedroom. When things start to heat up, Kevin tries to reach for a condom she rolls her eyes and asks, "You too good to give me a baby?" Kevin explains that he's not ready to go down that road, to which Nikki replies, "Soon as you get some money you be all about condoms, condoms, condoms!"
SKIN-FACTOR: There's no nudity in the film but there are two scenes where Kevin is stripped down to his underwear. Nikki tries to seduce Kevin wearing some revealing (and oh so flattering) lingerie.
SCENE STEALER: T-Pain (Faheem Najm) plays Junior, the convenience store clerk who sells Bow Wow the winning ticket. Peering from behind the store counter, Junior gets his share of funny one-liners.
I'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE: The projects have a recluse who lives in the basement apartment named Mr. Washington (Ice Cube). People suspect he's a murderer, but turns out he was just a guy with a burgeoning career veered off track. This closely resembles Sean Connery's character, William Forrester in the film Finding Forrester from ten years earlier.
BOTTOM LINE: Director Erik White has crafted a simple yet heartwarming comedy that mildly lampoons urban culture but doesn't shy away from the realities of inner-city living. Bow Wow steps up his game and takes the lead with an impressive performance that is enhanced by the veteran ensemble cast that supports him. The plot is a bit predicable and a few stereotypical jokes tend to linger a bit to long, but overall, Lottery Ticket is a surefire winner as a fun, family-friendly film.