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Overall Rating
2.27

Awesome: 6.67%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average46.67%
Pretty Crappy: 6.67%
Sucks: 40%

2 reviews, 3 user ratings


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Lottery Ticket
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by Erik Childress

"The Only Way To Lose Is To Buy A Ticket"
1 stars

One of the worst things to happen to cinema, culture, racial stereotypes and giving hypocrisy a bad name is Tyler Perry. His ineptitude as a filmmaker is overshadowed by the blaring contradictory lessons preached about through cardboard characters in some apparently spiritual house of glass. It is no wonder he would find something of value in last year's Precious; enough to attach his name as a presenter like a garbageman presenting a discarded Rolex replica as the golden goose that will set the black community free. Caucasian filmmakers could not get away with the condescending pretense of his work. Just as they would be raked across the coals if they in any manner conceived or filmed the atrocity known as Lottery Ticket. Here is a film so devoid of direction, so offensive in its storytelling and so wholly ignorant to its own philosophy, you would swear it was made by Madea Perry. Not only is it not but it may just be more infuriating than anything he's ever been associated with.

Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) is just your average teenage boy living in the projects. He has a doting grandmother (Loretta Devine) who cooks him breakfast every morning. He has a smart-aleck best friend in Benny (Brandon T. Jackson) who steals that breakfast and talks his ear off every day. He has a cute gal pal in Stacie (Naturi Naughton) that walks with him and Benny to work. Presumably every morning. During the longest walk since T.E. Lawrence and Gasim crossed the Nefud, Kevin is able to introduce us to everyone else living in his neighborhood. They include local thug Lorenzo (Gbenga Akinnagbe) who expects Kevin to hook him up with free shoes from his job at Foot Locker; gold-diggin' hottie Nikki (Teairra Mari), a mysterious basement dweller (Ice Cube) who never goes outside and a gaggle of cement step loiterers trying to decide what they would do with $370 million.

That is the prize tag on the state lottery, an enterprise that Kevin scoffs at as one designed to sell the black man false dreams. His tune changes a bit when he finally gets to work and an incident simultaneously gets Lorenzo arrested and him fired. Impulsively using some lucky fortune cookie numbers to buy a ticket, Kevin discovers the next morning that he is the big winner. Down goes all that talk of it being an evil conspiracy and up goes Kevin's feet to the lottery office downtown which is inconveniently closed for the July 4 weekend. Knowing full well what parading around a $370 million piece of paper could cause for him, Kevin tries to keep it under wraps. But big mouth grandma tells the neighborhood gossip king and faster than him being branded a snitch is Kevin in the middle of family, friends, neighbors, whores, the Church, the Mob and the avenging Lorenzo all wanting a piece of the action.

Lottery Ticket wants to sell you on being a playful, flavor-packed tale of community-based humor along the lines of a Barbershop or a less-vulgar cousin of the Friday series. Do not be fooled. This is an ugly, patronizing, unconsciously hypocritical film that has no direction in where it wants its tone to reside. It never builds up enough steam to ever fathom itself as a screwball comedy and confuses itself so frequently with elements of uncomical danger that we are never sure who or what we are supposed to occasional take seriously.

To complicate the plot unnecessarily, the moron collective come up with a plan for Kevin to impress the suddenly interested hoochie-ho Nikki. Instead of heeding the obvious warning from nice girl Stacie that she just wants him for his newfound millions, Kevin goes along with seeing local mobster Sweet Tee (Keith David) who, no questions asked, fronts the kid with $100,000 for his "date." This package comes with right-hand man, Jimmy the Driver (Terry Crews), who joins Kevin and pals on a giant shopping spree that ends with (shocker) Nikki in it just for the sperm. At no point though does Sweet Tee ever announce his intentions with Kevin. Clearly he is making an "investment" with the boy, but to what end? How much of the ticket does he expect in the end? It is never voiced, clouding the issue when both Jimmy and himself have to confront Lorenzo to protect the lad on separate occasions. What is their end game other than a savage beating?

Lorenzo is another matter entirely as he is never played as anything but a psychotic thug who will beat you bloody if you don't give him what he plans to take from you anyway. If this had been a thriller, he may have fit in. The original Friday was no more successful (despite its popular reputation) at blending smart-aleck comedy with violent thuggery we were once told was a serious depopulator in the hood. In the movie's defense, it is not set in "the hood." Just the projects. The nicest, cleanest projects you have ever seen. It is the projects the way Back to the Future's Hill Valley was the projects. If you didn't know any better, by the looks of grandma's house you might think you were transported back the 1970's suburbs of Roll Bounce. That puts a bit of a damper on all the speechifying about needing to get out of this horrible existence and doing something positive for the community. Director Erik White doesn't show us squalor, he gives us colorful furnishings and mall interiors. Somehow the barren premises of the lottery building appears more like something out of an apocalypse film than the rose-colored inner-city housing center that time apparently forgot.

Listening to Lottery Ticket turn itself into a rallying cry for using newfound wealth to help out a bunch of people with their hands out is almost as painful as watching Bow Wow wince his way through a performance like he just had a bad burrito before every take. The sloppy nature of Abdul Williams' debut screenplay furthers the ammunition for the illiterate gatherers trying to prove a socialist agenda; you know, the kind that love to show the video of the woman saying that Obama is going to pay for her gas and mortgage. This film is neither a commentary on anyone believing they found a Presidential lottery ticket nor some premonition on Lebron leaving Cleveland in the lurch after finding his good fortune. It is flat-out sad that any message about philanthropy can be bulldozed in the hands of inept filmmakers sieving through characters such as these who don't deserve a dime of that money or ours.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19532&reviewer=198
originally posted: 08/20/10 00:00:00
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User Comments

12/26/12 @carAnthony_SR That is not comedy, its a story bout intelligent yung man, his friends, his struggles...... 5 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Did anybody expect for anything but a happy ending? PREDICTABLE! 3 stars
8/19/10 PAUL SHORTT TRITE AND CLICHED 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Aug-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Aug-2010
  DVD: 16-Nov-2010


Directed by
  Erik White

Written by
  Abdul Williams

Cast
  Keith David
  Terry Crews
  Naturi Naughton
  Brandon T. Jackson
  Mike Epps
  Ice Cube



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