Lottery Ticket, The (2010)

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, language including a drug reference, some violence and brief underage drinking.
Length: 99 minutes
Grade: CC-BC-=C
Budget: $17 million
Box Office: $34 million (25 U.S., 9 DVD)

Written by: Abdul Williams and Erik White (First Script for both).
Directed by: Erik White (A couple of music videos)
Starring: Bow Wow, Brandon T. Jackson, and Naturi Naughton
With: Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Keith David, Terry Crews, Mike Epps, Charles Q. Murphy, and Bill Bellamy.

When a hard-working resident of the projects wins the mega-lottery but can’t collect his winnings until after the holiday weekend, all sorts of dangerous and conniving people come after him and his money.

Entertainment Value: C
I was really looking forward to seeing this movie because I thought the premise was so good and at least some of the actors would help it stay on the rails. In the end, it wound up being so-so mostly because that’s where movies always start for me. They have to earn a different grade, and this didn’t.

Superficial Content: C-
Drugs/Alcohol B, Sex/Nudity C, Violence C, Language D+
There’s several semi-sexual scenes, occasional alcohol consumption, and several fights, bullying, and even gun threats. Aside from all this, language is really heavy. I’d go PG-15, which seems to be the new norm for PG-13, unless it’s just me developing quaint sensibilities, which I doubt.

Significant Content: B
When you’re broke, you know who your real friends are. When you’re rich (or sexy or powerful), you don’t. Most people who escape the projects do nothing to help their community, but they should. The right girl is your best friend, not the one with the best booty. Playing the lottery is just a trick to keep people bad at math from getting ahead. (Seriously, that’s a paraphrased line from the movie.) Unfortunately, the guy who says it wins the lottery. So, something of a mixed message, you might say.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
This one’s a bit hard for me to grade as a middle-class white guy. I found the portrayal of the projects to be so chock full of clich├ęs that it bothered me, but I don’t know whether that’s self-imposed racial political correctness or just genuinely weak writing. Seriously, the whole cast is a never-ending stream of stereotypes. It left me either feeling really bad about all the silliness these folks have to endure (especially the “preacher) or else feeling bad that the makers of this movie thought so little of their audience that they could pass off these stereotypes as entertainment so easily. But maybe that’s just a good pretext for the message. Like I said, since all I know of the ghetto is what I see on television, who am I to tell?

Overall Grade: C
Semi-funny, semi-intriguing, and mostly yet another in a long line of mediocre films primarily targeted to the black community. I wonder sometimes whether blacks in America get as tired of bad “black” movies as Christians do about bad Christian films.

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