Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

This clever Australian comedy features a young college dropout, Lewis (Ben Mendelsohn), whose dream is to direct a stage play. Unfortunately, the only directing job he can find is at a mental institution, where a very motley crew of star-struck inmates await him. The hospital staff believes that a stage production will be good therapy for the patients. Some think they can sing, act or dance, but only Julie (Toni Collette) has any talent at all. Led by eccentric Roy (Barry Otto), the inmates vote to stage Mozart's opera, "Cosi Fan Tutte," instead of a simple talent show. Lewis soon begins to think he's more unstable than his actors. Amid hilarious antics and temperamental outbursts, this theatrical experiment evolves from a shapeless, hopeless mess into a flawed but very stirring performance. Lewis becomes so enthused over the results that he decides to make a career of working with mental patients. Cosi is great fun for adult audiences who appreciate Australian humor.

Along with the comedy, however, comes an overdose of gratuitous foul language that includes 26 obscenities. Although there's no sex, Lewis lives with his girlfriend and they are shown in bed a few times. Some heavy petting and graphic references to intercourse also heat up the screen. Violence is limited to some kicking and hitting, plus a building being burned down. A distraught, suicidal patient is caught before she cuts her wrists. It's encouraging to see the young, rather unambitious Lewis mature as he deals with a very difficult group of misfits. He learns to regard each one as a valuable human being worthy of respect. In turn, they develop self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. But Cosi also fails to convince us that its story could not be told without foul language and superfluous sexually suggestive dialogue.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017

Crude Language: Many (10) times - Mild 5, Moderate 5
Obscene Language: Many (27) times - f-word 17, s-word 6, other 4
Profanity: Several (6) times - Regular 2 (G), Exclamatory 4
Violence: Few times - Moderate (building burned down, attempted suicide, kicking and hitting)
Sexual Intercourse: None but implied by couple in bed
Nudity: Twice (brief female breast nudity, rear male nudity)
Homosexual Conduct: None; slang term for lesbian used once
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several times (references to sex, heavy petting)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Young Adults

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