Playing the lottery may be the most unpredictably predictable thing you can do. Yes, you could win millions of dollars and never have to work again, but 999,999,999 times out of 1,000,000,000 times, you're just going to be out lunch money tomorrow. The movie Lottery Ticket is a lot like that. There are a couple of surprising moments (like a really interesting social message that deserved a better movie), but all you're getting is the same movie you've seen before, and not a very good one at that.
Bow Wow (who surprisingly isn't too bad) plays Kevin, a talented designer stuck in the projects and working at Foot Locker when he buys a lottery ticket that wins him over 300 million dollars. Unfortunately, it's the Saturday of the long 4th of July weekend, and the lottery office doesn't open until Tuesday. So he has to spend the weekend dodging gold diggers, unscrupulous ministers, and the local thug who has Kevin on his hit list. Which brings me to my biggest problem with this movie: why the heck doesn't Kevin just stay inside? Yeah, I know there's no movie if he does, but the filmmakers make no attempt to explain this away. Kevin could have at least had a reason he had to leave the house, but he didn't. He's got a multi-million dollar lottery ticket in his pocket. Just chill at home until Tuesday. While that may seem like nitpicking, it actually made it that much harder for me to get into the story.
That aside, the film's other major problem is that it doesn't know what it wants to be, and neither do its characters. One minute, it's trying to be an urban comedy on the level of Friday, the next a social commentary on the state of the inner city. Sometimes, this shift happens in the same scene. Unfortunately, Erik White isn't a good enough director to keep those strains separate, or make them flow seamlessly. He also chooses charicature over character, and while some of the actors give memorable performances (I really enjoyed Ice Cube's "old man"), most of them are over the top and not horribly believable. All of these situations and crazy characters lead to a climax that's an incredible let down, one that does have much to do with our main character at all. It's too bad, because there's a good message within the film about helping out your community. Instead, just like a real lottery ticket, it's a lot of buildup for little payoff.