Buddies Michael (David Kelly) and Jackie (Ian Bannen) make the best of a “grave” situation
Friday is St. Paddy’s Day, and my goal this week has been to review an Irish movie with a vixen, vamp, or tramp. I found a “twofer”(two questionable women) in writer/director Kirk Jones’ delightful 1998 comedy, Waking Ned Devine.
The tiny Irish hamlet of Tully More has received an enormous windfall. One of their own, Ned Devine, has won the Irish Lottery. There’s just one problem……
Ned is dead.
You heard it right. As soon as he got the good news on TV, the elderly gentleman passed away from pure shock. So it looks like nobody wins any money this year. Or……. maybe someone will, because pals Michael (David Kelly) and Jackie (Ian Bannen) are determined to grab that jackpot come hell or high water.
The remainder of this story involves the scheming pair’s attempts to finagle their way into Ned’s millions, and the problems they encounter in doing so. For example, they have to convince the lotto officials that Ned is still alive. And how will the rest of the villagers react when they hear the truth of the matter?
Aside from hilarious scenes involving Michael and Jackie’s efforts in securing the lotto money, there are small pleasures as we encounter various supporting characters in the village. For example, there’s the village priest, Father Patrick (Dermont Kerrigan), who spends his time trying to explain religion to a rather doubtful little tyke named Maurice (played by Robert Hickey). Maurice is the illegitimate son of the town dish, lovely Maggie O’Toole (Susan Lynch), who spends her time enticing Pig (James Nesbitt) and Pat (Fintan McKeown). Are either of these men the father of Maurice? Is it someone else? All is revealed at the end of the story.
The second questionable female in Tully More is a most irascible curmudgeon by the name of Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey). “Lizzy the Witch” is so mean that she delights in trying to run over people with her geriatric scooter. Although a minor player, Lizzy is an important element in the plot. Why? Can’t tell you that. You’ll just have to draw yourself a pint of Guinness and wait it out until end of show.
You can download the digital version of Waking Ned Devine or purchase the DVD by clicking onto the following amazon.com link:
Pluses: Funny performances from veteran actors Kelly and Bannon, who provide several laugh-out-loud moments. Well-written story with clever denouement. Gorgeous location shots filmed in Cregneash, Isle of Man, Ireland.
Minus: Takes a bit of effort getting used to the Irish brogue.
Cast: David Kelly, Ian Bannan, Fionnula Flanagan, James Nesbitt, Susan Lynch, Fintan McKeown, Jimmy Keogh, Brendan Dempsey, Eileen Dromey.
Director: Kirk Jones
Rating: PG (nudity, language, thematic elements)
Length: 91 minutes