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Waking Ned Devine

When Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) learns that one of the residents in his small Irish village of Tulaigh Mohr (pop. 62) has won the national Lotto, he tries to figure out who the anonymous winner is — only to discover that reclusive Ned Devine hit the jackpot and promptly died of a heart attack in his bed. So what does a clever Irishman do with a £6 million ticket in his grasp? Offer up his friend Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) as the very-alive Mr. Devine and convince the town to participate in the fraud so they can all split the winnings. This charming indie comedy from first-time writer/director Kirk Jones was a sleeper hit in 1998 with American audiences, and for good reason, since it is consistently amusing and manages to get some big laughs without ever resorting to scatological, low-brow gags. The veteran cast (including Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch, James Nesbitt, and Maura O'Malley) give the townspeople an offbeat vitality, and the many vistas of the village and countryside make for wonderful backdrops (even if they were shot on the Isle of Man and not Ireland itself). Good transfer, Dolby 2.0, trailer, textual supplements.

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