Writer and director Kirk Jones has created a rollicking, upbeat comedy set in the small village of Tully More in Ireland. Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and his best friend Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) are two elders who share a common yen for adventure: they go skinny dipping in the ocean and ride motorbikes. When they learn that one of the other 50 inhabitants of their town has won the Irish lottery, they try to figure out who has the ticket. The winner turns out to be Ned Devine only he has died of shock in front of his television set holding the ticket. As Mrs. O'Shea (Fionnula Flanagan) puts it, "He carried a heart the size of his head in his chest." It is up to O'Shea and O'Sullivan to figure out a plan to share Ned's good luck with the rest of the community.
Part of the pleasure in watching this film is delighting in the rich mix of colorful characters. They include a pig farmer (James Nesbitt) whose girlfriend (Susan Lynch) is turned off by his bad smell, her young son (Robert Hickey), an interim priest (Dermot Kerrigan), and a singing postmistress (Maura O'Malley). Waking Ned Devine is a playful drama that encourages us to catch joy as it flies.