December 19, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Ain’t mental illness a riot? Struggling theater director Ben Mendelsohn, desperate for work, agrees to participate in a form of occupational therapy: a production of Mozart’s opera Coso fan tutte to be performed entirely by asylum inmates. Naturally, they’re the kind of wacky but lovable loonies that exist only in exploitative movies like this one, and their various psychoses result in, oh, just a whole mess of scrapes. Granted, my PC carping would be academic if this Australian comedy, Cosi, were actually funny, but the best it can offer is a suicidal patient singing ”I’m So Excited” as a funereal dirge. C-

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