We gave it a B
In the Irish comedy ”Waking Ned Devine,” the residents of tiny Tully More learn that their dead friend Ned has won the national lottery — and decide to claim the £6.9 million jackpot by allowing Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly) to impersonate the dead man. Can they fool the Dublin yuppie who comes to debrief Devine?
That’s practically a rhetorical question, given what a staple the bumpkins-outwit-city-slickers film has become. You might even call it a mini-genre: the community caper.
Kirk Jones, the writer-director of ”Waking Ned Devine,” keeps the sentimentality quotient low in Tully More, conveying the respectful fondness these folks feel for each other and the fun they get from their shenanigans. A mischievous spark shines from these Irish eyes, but Jones can’t help exploiting the characters’ eccentricities for laughs, so before long we’re watching Kelly’s naked old man riding a motorbike. If Jones had refrained from such easy guffaws, he could have made a truly Devine comedy.