There's a very sweet little comedy about life in a housing project that drew only a handful of people the night I saw it.

"Lottery Ticket" is fun. It's a lighthearted study of human behavior and the importance of money to those who live on their dreams.

Kevin (Bow Wow, "Roll Bounce") is newly graduated from high school. He has a job at the Foot Locker. His grandmother (Loretta Devine, who never fails to impress me) worries about him - that he'll get with the wrong girl, or run with the wrong crowd. But he and his buddy Benny (Brandon T. Jackson, who also starred in "Roll Bounce") are good kids despite the dangers and temptations of life in the projects.

Kevin runs afoul of a local thug, who "ordered" shoes from Kevin. When the man tries to walk out of the store with the boxes, he tries to tell the arresting officers that they were a gift from Kevin - and Kevin truthfully denies this. By the time Kevin gets home from work, word on the street is that he's a snitch.

Kevin is good-hearted. He picks up snacks for a mysterious man who lives in a basement near Kevin's home, and he promises his grandmother he will play her numbers for her. Even Kevin, who doesn't think much of lottery tickets, can't resist buying a ticket of his own.

And so it is that Kevin wins $370 million. That's not giving anything away, mind you, because most of the movie is about the effect of the pending win on Kevin and, especially, those around him. Kevin suddenly becomes everybody's best friend - including the beautiful but sleazy neighborhood gold-digger.

Everyone wants something from Kevin, who can't claim his prize because of a long holiday weekend. Now Kevin must escape the clutches of the would-be thief and just about everyone else with whom he comes in contact, including the shady "godfather" of the projects (the always enjoyable Keith David) and the local minister (Mike Epps), who has plans for an incredible church and mansion for himself.

This movie features intelligent, likeable young people who get caught up in a force - enormous wealth - beyond their control. It's certainly worth your money to see it.

 

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