Others have tried before and since to capture its tone, but Waking Ned Devine feels so effortless that it has become the shining example of how to do whimsical small town comedy in the Irish countryside. In fact, its infectious dialogue, characters, and madcap plot made it such a favorite, it was considered a dark horse candidate for a Best Picture nod, in the slot reserved for lovable imports like The Full Monty and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Although performers of all ages make Tulaigh More the quirky hamlet of good-natured opportunism that it is, Ian Bannen and David Kelly are the clear standouts, and not only because they're the central characters. They amply reward the risky decision to put senior citizens in the lead roles, giving hilariously agile and un-self-conscious performances. Because they are also in the twilight of their lives, their all-or-nothing push for the money becomes a last chance at deferred dreams. This leavens the comedy with occasional moments of unobtrusive sentiment -- which make the film's ultimately wicked sense of humor all the more surprising. And with a town full of novice liars, who are almost united in their efforts to hoodwink the lottery official, yet barely able to contemplate the fragility of their ruse, the comic possibilities are rich indeed. Kudos go to screenwriter/director Kirk Jones, here making his debut; Henry Braham, for his lush cinematography of the seaside community; and most fondly, Bannen, who made his last memorable screen appearance before dying in a car accident the following year.