Waking Ned Devine
Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Susan Lynch, Fionnula Flanagan
Directed by Kirk Jones
20th Century Fox

Too often British comedy is a matter of taste. It is after all, much more subtle than what Americans do in the genre and relies much more on the word and situation and much less on the pratfall and double take. Much like Guinness, however, it does not travel well. Waking Ned Devine, on the other hand, travels very well. Whether you are a fan of funny movies from the island or generally weary of them, this great and hilarious film will not disappoint.

Filmed on the Isle of Man, Waking Ned Devine is brilliant in its story, acting, and directing. There is not a single wasted scene, moment, or line. Everything is there for a reason and every scene has a comic element. Someone has won the Irish National Sweepstakes and that someone lives in the village or Tullymore. Michael and Jackie, two old friends scheme to figure out who the lucky winner is so they can perhaps get a few pints out of him. They discover the winner is Ned Devine but, unfortunately, he has died from the shock of watching the lotto results on the telly. Michael and Jackie start planning for a way to cash in Ned’s ticket.

What started as a plan to get some 500,000 pounds soon starts to unravel when they learn the actual winnings come to some 7 million pounds. The whole village gets in on the scheme and Michael ends up impersonating Ned Devine for the Irish National Lottery representative. Of course, the plans of mice and men do not often go smoothly and there a quite a few very funny obstacles and tribulations before, well, watch the movie.

Secondary stories in this movie, such as the relationship between Maggie and Pig Finn, a young boy and a visiting priest, and a cantankerous old lady and the village add dimension, human interest, and of course, comic situations to the movie.

Waking Ned Devine is a movie the whole family will enjoy unless, of course, you are of the mindset what seeing a couple of old and wrinkled bare behinds (those of Michael and Jackie) will corrupt your child, cause teenage pregnancies, and end the world as you, not we, know it. This is an utterly charming, beautiful, and very funny story that is also quite stunning visually and musically.


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