Waking Ned Devine poses a nifty paradox: The film is a good-natured, heartwarming little fable about death, deceit, and greed. When Ian Bannen and David Kelly discover that someone in their tiny Irish village of Tulaigh Morh (pop. 52) has won the national lottery, the two set about buttering up the whole town in an effort to ingratiate themselves to the winner, whoever he or she turns out to be. But the winner, Ned Devine (Jimmy Keogh), turns out to be no longer, having died of shock after receiving news of the multimillion-dollar payoff. Their plan foiled, the two men must convince the remaining townsfolk to trick the lotto rep into leaving the money with a proxy Ned Devine. Lest one forget the homey setting, bad teeth, beer, and blue-collar folk abound, and the final shot is right out of an Irish Spring commercial. But the movie possesses a fun wicked streak, one that has no qualms with killing off the town harpy, in a scene straight out of The Wizard Of Oz, to get an easy chuckle. Sight gags involving two elderly men riding motorbikes in the buff may be a little too much, but this slight movie gets by on its grungy charm, if not its class.
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