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WAKING NED DEVINE (1998)

In the tiny, seaside village of Tully More, two good friends, Jackie O'Shea and Michael O'Sullivan, hatch a covert plan to collect the lottery winnings in the name of the rightful, yet dead winner, Ned Devine, a friend who would want his new wealth to benefit is friends.  Because of unforeseen circumstances that were not in the original plan, this simple covert plan turns into a complicated hilarious scheme that involves the entire village, upping the risk of jail time for Jackie and Michael if this all encompassing effort is found out by the authorities.

The cast includes: Ian Bannen, David Kelly I, Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch, James Nesbitt, Paul Vaughan, Adrain Robinson II, Maura O'Malley, Robert Hickey, Paddy Ward, James Ryland, Fintab McKeown, and Eileen Dromey.

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"Finally, a comedy that will make you feel like a million bucks"


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Waking Ned Devine - is a delightfully funny look at human nature. As the Irish traditionally love to tell stories, this Irish-inspired film tells an entertaining tale, complete with a narrator, of how a whole town conspired together, in order to benefit from a dead man's lottery ticket, worth 6.9 million Irish pounds!

Ned Devine is an elderly Irishman who lives in a small country village, Tully More, way out in the wild countryside of Ireland, beside the sea. Like many of his neighbors and friends he bought a lottery ticket. When he sees the television broadcast that announces the winner, his number is called! He is so excited, so elated, that he dies in his bed, with a huge grin on his face.

At another house in the village, a good friend of Ned Devine, Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen), also watches the same newscast for the winning lottery ticket. While the number called was almost his, but not quite, he realizes that someone in his village of 52 people was the lottery winner. When no one the next day claimed to be the winner, he invites all who had bought a lottery ticket over for a chicken dinner. Perhaps they hadn't realized that they had won. All came to dinner, except one man, Ned Devine. So he and another friend, Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly), go over to visit Ned, and find him dead in bed, clutching the winning lottery ticket.

Why should this winning ticket go to waste? Ned would certainly want his friends to benefit from his good fortune. After having a dream where Ned tells him as much, he and his friend hatch a simple plan. Michael O'Sullivan calls the state lottery headquarters, stating that he is Ned Devine, the winner.

However, what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive. What was supposed to be a simple plan, turned into a complex operation involving the whole village, with a few monkey wrenches thrown in to make things even more interesting and more risky; thus upping the chances that Jackie and Michael, the ring leaders behind this elaborate plot, will wind up in jail, if anything at all goes wrong.

Things start to go amiss, when the lottery official, (Adrian Robinson II), unexpectedly shows up, and asks them where Ned Devine lived, while they were both skinny dipping at the beach. Jackie O'Shea offers to drive him to Ned's place, and takes as many detours as he can, trying to allow his naked friend, Michael, time to ride the motorcycle to Ned's place, which is pretty funny sequence of events.

The official after talking to his friend through the bathroom door, tells them that he would need to talk to the townspeople in the next couple of days to confirm that this was really Ned Devine.

This means that the whole village must be in with this plot, and would need to get a share of the winnings. All think this is a fine plan, except the disagreeable, wheel chair bound Lizzy (Eileen Dromey), who tries to extort £1000,000 of the lottery money for herself, threatening to tell the lottery official if she didn't get her "hush money." Her unique just desserts that she receives at the end of the film is a crowd pleaser.

The screenplay, by Kirk Jones III, is a delightful piece of comical entertainment, that is sure to lift one's spirits, and has a liberal dose of British-Irish humour. Kirk Jones also does a fine job directing the great ensemble cast, and the overall pacing of the film. In 1998, Kirk Jones won the award for the Best First Feature at the British Academy Awards.

The climax of these complications happens when the lottery official stumbles into the church where Jackie O'Shea, (Ian Bannen), is giving the eulogy for Ned Devine, where everything now rests with Jackie's ability to keep his cool and think on his feet.

This film is great family entertainment.

If you enjoyed WAKING NED DEVINE you may like THE COMMITMENTS and/or THE QUIET MAN.