There are so many similarities between this picture and Local Hero that it must be considered a remake: a Celtic coastal village with colorful locals, a big pile of money brought in by a stranger from the city, a lone hold-out against the newfound cash. There's also the stunning scenery, and even a helicopter. To remake a movie is to invite comparison with the original, and Waking Ned Devine doesn't come close to Local Hero. There's none of the earlier picture's subtlety. The hold-out (Lizzy in this one, Ben in Local Hero) is dealt with by a garish, and quite out-of-character, plot device. There's very little here in the way of character development. These folks seem like caricatures, for the most part. Given what they're up to, it's hard to swallow all their cheery Irish joviality.
Mostly, though, the problem with WND is that it's all about the money. From the opening scene right through to the end, everything that happens is driven by money or the lack thereof. That's a hard, cold core around which to wrap all these lovely Irish (well, Manx really) vistas and all these craggy Irish faces. If the filmmakers meant to remake Local Hero, they clearly missed the story that movie told. It's a story of friendship and belonging, of learning to connect. The money's there in Local Hero, but only to move the plot along. In Waking Ned Devine, all you really know about the characters is how they react to pounds from heaven. The money is the whole movie.