Cosi

Overview

In this Australian comedy, adapted by Louis Nowra from his own play and updated from a '70s to a '90s setting, a Sydney slacker gets the chance to stage an opera, but his cast is assembled from the ranks of the mentally ill. After a long stretch sponging off his law-student girlfriend Lucy (Rachel Griffiths), college dropout Lewis (Ben Mendelsohn) fakes his way into a job doing occupational therapy with a group of asylum inmates. Although his original assignment is to stage a variety show, manic-depressive ...
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Overview

In this Australian comedy, adapted by Louis Nowra from his own play and updated from a '70s to a '90s setting, a Sydney slacker gets the chance to stage an opera, but his cast is assembled from the ranks of the mentally ill. After a long stretch sponging off his law-student girlfriend Lucy (Rachel Griffiths), college dropout Lewis (Ben Mendelsohn) fakes his way into a job doing occupational therapy with a group of asylum inmates. Although his original assignment is to stage a variety show, manic-depressive patient Roy (Barry Otto) soon hijacks the project and convinces Lewis to helm an adaptation of his favorite opera, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti. Lewis' unlikely cast ranges from psycho firebug Doug (David Wenham) and scruffy loudmouth Sandra (Kerry Walker) to depressive, dirt-obsessed Ruth (Pamela Rabe) and self-effacing drug addict Julie (Toni Collette). Given the dearth of acting and singing experience among these players, Lewis opts to translate the piece from Italian to English and stage it as a play with only a few pieces of music. The show still proves to be more than its director bargained for -- despite the dubious assistance of his friend Nick (Aden Young), an actor/director who's currently staging his own over-the-top production of Diary of a Madman. Although Cosi reteams Muriel's Wedding co-stars Collette and Griffiths, their characters here never share a scene. The production also includes former Men at Work singer Colin Hay in a featured role, plus cameos from Greta Scacchi and Paul Mercurio (who appeared alongside Otto in Strictly Ballroom).
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Although its love-triangle subplot is underwritten and its attempts to riff on Mozart's themes of romantic inconstancy seem half-baked, this likable little comedy transcends its hokey premise thanks to its fine ensemble acting and its frequently hilarious script. By mashing together elements of several different formulas -- crazy-people-are-funny comedy, underdog-triumphant melodrama, and let's-put-on-a-show pizzazz -- Louis Nowra's script gets to have it every which way. We root for the pathetic protagonists at the same time we're laughing at their tics. We thrill at the glamour of the footlights and the greasepaint even as we wait for the next mentally ill pratfall. As usual with movies about crazy people, the insane get all the best lines and laughs -- particularly Barry Otto as the aria-obsessed Roy and Kerry Walker as the lovably vicious Sandra. As the token drug abuser, Toni Collette gets to show some grave-faced restraint -- and show off her impressive pipes on renditions of several time-worn pop hits. Unfortunately, fellow Muriel's Wedding vet Rachel Griffiths gets stuck with a thankless role as the protagonist's unsupportive girlfriend. Otherwise, the ensemble fires on all cylinders. Despite such flaws, however, director Mark Joffe strikes a delicate balance between character-driven humor, Waiting for Guffman-style parody, and old-fashioned razzle-dazzle.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/1999
  • UPC: 786936016017
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Mendelsohn Lewis
Barry Otto Roy
Toni Collette Julie
Rachel Griffiths Lucy
Aden Young Nick
Colin Friels Errol Grier
David Anthony Knucklehead
Paul Chubb Henry
Brian Ellison Rigger
Colin Hay Zac
Tony Llewellyn-Jones Jeff Kirner
Henry Maas Bernard Goldman
Paul Mercurio Auditioner
Toni Moran Painter
Robert Noble Mens Ward Nurse
Pamela Rabe Ruth
Robin Ramsay Minister for Health
Michael Robertson Cussing Patient
Greta Scacchi Auditioner
Kerry Walker Sandra
Jacki Weaver Cherry
David Wenham Doug
Lawrence Woodward Electrician
Technical Credits
Mark Joffe Director
Alison Barrett Casting
Hugh Bateup Art Director
Nicholas Beauman Editor
Richard Brennan Producer
Stephen Endelman Songwriter
Ray Fowler Special Effects
Lyn Gailey Associate Producer
Euan Keddie Asst. Director
Christopher Kennedy Production Designer
Louis Nowra Screenwriter
Ellery Ryan Camera Operator
John Schieflbein Sound/Sound Designer
Tess Schofield Costumes/Costume Designer
Phaedon Vass Executive Producer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Timothy White Producer
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