Lottery Ticket

By Amy Nicholson

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Posted August 19, 2010 in Film

What’s worse than winning a $370 million jackpot? Everything. But for Bow Wow, what’s truly terrible is having to protect your uncashed prize for three days in the projects where everyone knows your business and half of everyone has a gun. (Grandma Loretta Devine immediately douses him in holy water.) This broad comedy by Erik White and co-written by Abdul Williams is populated with a crammed city block of goons, hotties, gossips and opportunists. Even before Bow Wow wins the golden ticket, just cutting through the hood to get to his job at Foot Locker is a gauntlet where everybody’s gotta holler at him to steal some Air Jordans. “The lottery is designed to keep poor people poor,” Bow Wow speechifies before he gives in and buys a ticket. And under the surface of this very superficial flick is an indictment of a culture where everyone’s taking shortcuts that lead to dead ends, and the neighborhood beauty (Teairra Mari) has boned Jay-Z, LeBron and Bill Cosby in the hopes of a rich baby daddy. (Here, the way you can tell a good girl from a hustler is she insists on a condom.)  Even the preacher (Mike Epps) thinks he’s entitled to a cathedral, a mansion and a trophy wife. But while there’re enough stereotypes in here to get Dr. Laura frothing at the mouth, there’s also enough menace to merit co-writing credit for the Hughes brothers. With Ice Cube as the Boo Radley of the block.

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