Devine Comedy from Bannen & Kelly
When Jackie (Ian Bannen - Defence of the Realm) and Michael (David Kelly - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) learn that someone in their little Irish village has struck it lucky and won the national lottery, they go on a mission to discover who the winner is and share in his wealth. But when they discover that the winner, Ned Devine, has died presumably from the shock of winning they devise a plan with the help of the rest of the village to have someone pass themselves off as Ned when the Lottery inspector shows up.
Released in 1998 "Waking Ned" is a fun British comedy which relies on a simple storyline and the eccentricity of the characters to provide the entertainment. In this movie we follow a couple of loveable rogues who attempt to get rich by pretending to be a lottery winner who had unfortunately died of shock when he had realized that he was a winner. That really is it, there is nothing complicated about this movie at all, and that is one of the reasons why it is so enjoyable. You get to just watch the mad cap antics of mainly Jackie and Michael as they frantically try to dupe those around them.
The other reason why "Waking Ned" is so enjoyable is that it looks at the quirkiness of village characters, where you have typical stereotypes. You have a mean spirited woman who just likes moaning and spreading gossip, the young couple who are in love, but the fact he smells of pigs puts her off marrying him, the village priest who is sucked in to the conspiracy and of course the two lovable rogues. Sadly, the humour of this movie is lost on a lot of people, as they cannot appreciate the eccentricity of village life, along with this you have to get use to the Irish accents.
In the role of Jackie O'Shea you have Ian Bannen who is more of the brains behind the escapades, as he cajoles his partner in crime into assisting him in the fraud. Most of the main laughs come from Michael O' Sullivan played by David Kelly. Kelly is such a familiar face from British comedy and is brilliant as ever. Never would I have thought that a naked man in his 70s riding a motorbike would be so funny. The rest of the cast, who all put in great performances are somewhat over shadowed by the main stars, but with the likes of James Nesbitt and Fionnula Flanagan amongst the cast, there are plenty of more laughs.
What this all boils down to is that "Waking Ned" is a very enjoyable British comedy which after you get over the slight difficulty with understanding the Irish accent; it becomes a very easy movie to watch. What it achieves is to make us laugh at the quirkiness of village life, as typified in TV shows such as "Last of The Summer Wine", although "Waking Ned" is much funnier.