Osmosis Jones

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Osmosis Jones
Osmosis Jones poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Sito
Piet Kroon
Robert Farrelly
Peter Farrelly

(Live action)
Produced by Dennis Edwards
Robert Farrelly
Peter Farrelly
Zak Penn
Bradley Thomas
Written by Marc Hyman
Starring Chris Rock
Laurence Fishburne
David Hyde Pierce
Brandy Norwood
William Shatner
Molly Shannon
Chris Elliott
Bill Murray
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Mark Irwin
Editing by Lois Freeman-Fox
Stephen Schaffer
Sam Seig
Studio Warner Bros. Animation
Conundrum Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • August 7, 2001 (2001-08-07) (premiere)
  • August 10, 2001 (2001-08-10) (United States)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70 million[1]
Box office $13,596,911[1]

Osmosis Jones is a 2001 live-action/animated comedy film directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon for the animated segments and the Farrelly brothers for the live-action ones. Unusual in this genre, the animated characters are inside the live-action ones. It is set in a fictionalized version of the human body which resembles a large city, where micro-organisms or any being based in organisms are anthropomorphic and centers on Frank Detorre, a slovenly zookeeper. Osmosis Jones, a white blood cell teams up with Drix, a cold pill, against Thrax, a deadly virus, who plans to kill Frank in forty-eight hours and other characters living within him. Since the human body is fictionalized as a city in the film, the blood vessels and arteries resemble freeways and highways, the nerve endings and Nervous System resemble power lines and electrical substations, the lymph nodes resemble police stations, the stomach functions as an airport with arrivals, the urinary bladder functions as a cruise ship terminal with departures to leave the body, the bowels resemble a city dump and a harbor, the inner nose resembles a dam, the eyes functions as an amusement park ("See World"), the uvula resembles an observation tower, a zit resembles a nightclub, and the Brain resembles a city hall and a power plant. It met with mixed reviews, and was a failure at the box office, earning under $14 million against a budget of $70 million.[1] Despite the lack of accolades, the film sold well in home media. It was later adapted into a Saturday morning cartoon television show, Ozzy & Drix, which aired on Kids WB from 2002 to 2004, albeit being completely animated and more emphasis on Osmosis and Drix's partnership in a different body. Limited merchandise was created due to the film's financial failure. The "heroes inside the human body" reference was a reference towards the film, Fantastic Voyage.


Frank Detorre (Bill Murray) is a widowed slovenly zookeeper in his 40's at the Sucat Memorial Zoo in Rhode Island. Much to the frustration of his young daughter, Shane Detorre, he eats compulsively on unhealthy food and has minimal concern for germs or disease. While trying to eat a hard-boiled egg topped with mayonnaise and salt, it is stolen from him by a chimpanzee. He gets it back, but not before it falls into the filth of the chimp's habitat. When Shane is disgusted by him about to eat it he uses the "ten second rule" as a justification for the unsanitary act. Inside Frank's body, Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones (Chris Rock), a white blood cell is patrolling the mouth and discovers some germs on the egg. Frank then yawns, pulling them down the throat and into "Immunity" jurisdiction. Despite being told to stay out of the chase, Ozzy follows the germs and accidentally triggers a cramp in Frank's leg. Back in the mouth, some saliva cells are still breaking down the egg when a Scarlet Fever virus named Thrax (Laurence Fishburne) appears and, after burning the saliva cells and their boat, triggers a sore throat.

Meanwhile, Mayor Phlegmming (William Shatner) is preparing for re-election, campaigning with the promise of more junk food. His opponent, Tom Colonic (Ron Howard), is campaigning for a healthier Frank and is currently ahead in the polls. Mayor Phlegmming, however, is planning to secure his re-election by taking everyone in the body on a trip to Buffalo, New York. When he discovers Frank is getting sick, he goes into override (against policies as it requires a vote from city council) and makes Frank take a cold pill to prevent him from going to the doctor. Ozzy, meanwhile, is chewed out by the Chief for his earlier violation of orders. The Chief then assigns Ozzy to investigate the throat on the condition that he works with a cold pill named Drix (David Hyde Pierce). Thrax, in the meantime, visits Frank's left arm pit to recruit some germs for a big plan and kills off their leader as a demonstration to the other germs. At the throat, Ozzy encounters a gingivitis cell who saw Thrax's earlier attack and refers to him as "The Red Death" before being accidentally frozen by Drix. Then Ozzy and Drix head to the nose where, after Frank sneezes, Thrax and the germs create a stuffy nose to make it seem like Frank's condition is the common cold. Back at Mayor Phlegmming's office, Ozzy tries to inform him that a virus is in the body, but is threatened to be sent down the next nose bleed if he can't keep quiet. Mayor Phlegmming then offers to reassign Drix to another partner, but Drix decides to stay with Ozzy. While heading to the liver, Drix asks Ozzy why Mayor Phlegmming said Ozzy had a record. Ozzy says that years ago, Frank was at the science fair of Shane's school and ate some oysters off a random kid's science project. Ozzy was in the stomach when he saw some bacteria coming from the oysters. Rather than calling for backup, Ozzy hit the "puke" button, causing Frank to throw up all over Miss Boyd (Molly Shannon), one of Shane's teachers. Drix says that Ozzy was justified in his decision as oysters are a breeding ground for any number of dangerous bacteria. At the liver, a reformed influenza virus informs them that Thrax is big time and is currently in The Zit, a hangout for all the germs in the body. Once there, Ozzy discovers that Thrax plans to invade the hypothalamus and heat up Frank's body, killing him in 48 hours and getting a chapter in medical books. Ozzy is discovered and a fight breaks out. Drix tries loading a freezing grenade into his arm, but it gets stuck so Ozzy takes it and throws it at Thrax, causing The Zit to be burst off of Frank's forehead. Meanwhile, Frank is trying to get Miss Boyd to temporally lift a restraining order so he can join shane on a father/daughter hike, but the Zit pops onto her bottom lip, making her refusal official. When Ozzy returns to the Third Precinct, Mayor Phegmming berates him for popping The Zit. Ozzy and Drix tells him that if they hadn't done it, Frank's whole body would be destroyed. Mayor Phlegmming tells Ozzy to be careful of what he says as that kind of talk would cause a panic (in addition to reducing his chances of not getting re-elected). When Ozzy argues that it would make the citizens think more about the body than the trip to Buffalo, Mayor Phlegmming fires him. Drix defends Ozzy by saying Frank would've been in mortal danger if not for Ozzy's invention, but Mayor Phlegmming tells him to leave the body as his abilities are temporary and therefore keep him from proving the truth.

Thrax, meanwhile, survives the explosion and, after killing off his remaining henchmen for suggesting they incubate, decides to launch a lone assault on the hypothalamus by disabling its self-regulative capabilities. Arriving there, he uses his virus infecting finger to destroy the protoplasmic barrier around the gland, and retrieve a DNA bead, causing the body to slowly overheat. Soon after, Leah Estrogen (Brandy Norwood), the mayor's secretary and Ozzy's love interest, discovers his work and alerts security. Thrax manages to evade them, taking Leah hostage and escapes from the brain to the mouth. Meanwhile, the temperature continues to rise, causing chaos to break out all over the City of Frank. Frank is taken to the hospital under the influence of Thrax's attack. Ozzy and Drix rescue Leah and confront Thrax, who leaves Frank's mouth after causing Frank to sneeze using pollen bombs. Ozzy is launched out after him by Drix, where Ozzy and Thrax fight on one of Shane's eyeballs and end up on Shane's false eyelashe after she blinks, which she was wearing atop her natural ones. During the fight, Thrax threatens to break his own record by killing Shane, but Ozzy tricks him into getting stuck on Shane's false eyelash and fall into a vessel of alcohol below, where he dissolves. During this time, the situation becomes even more dangerous when the temperature hits 108 degrees, causing Frank to go into cardiac arrest. Just as doctors begin to give up, Frank is revived when Ozzy returns to Frank via one of Shane's crying tears with the DNA chain containg the missing hypothalamus chromosome. Ozzy is reinstated into "Immunity" with full privileges, Ozzy and Drix are declared heroes with the Chief of Police (Joel Silver) giving Ozzy his job back, Ozzy planning on extending Drix's time in Frank with help from the hemorrhoid, and Leah returns his affections. Frank, having survived Thrax's attack, has begun to improve his diet and personal hygiene. Meanwhile, Mayor Phlegmming has lost his position as mayor and now has a new job as a janitor, cleaning the bowels. He accidentally ejects himself from the body via the rectum by touching a button that is important and marked "DO NOT TOUCH!" which triggers flatulence. Frank jokes about it by saying "out with the old, in with the new".


Promotional image of Osmosis Jones, featuring the main animated characters. From left to right: Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliffa, Tom Colonic, Chief of Police, Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, Leah Estrogen, Mayor Phlegmming and Thraxb.


  • Chris Rock as Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, a funky, urban, over-zealous blue and white blood cell (specifically a natural killer cell) with little respect for authority. Since he was discredited, he was suspended for unnecessary force and placed in out-of-the-way patrols. Therefore he seizes any opportunity to be able to make a difference. He is able to combine his eyes into one, to ooze through narrow spaces like cracks and under doors, and to contort his body.
  • Laurence Fishburne as Thrax, a tall, extremely virulent, and unusually powerful pathogenic agent. He claims loudly, "Ebola is a case of dandruff compared to me!", and has killed numerous people before arriving in Frank. He carries a chain consisting of numerous chromosomes removed from other victims' hypothalamus as a trophy. His left index finger is a long claw, which can melt the cellular equivalent of steel, consume cells and other viruses in flames, and alter the properties of other cells. Thrax is referred to as "The Red Death" but does not cause an existing disease. His name is a play on the bacteria anthrax.
  • David Hyde Pierce as Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff, a red and yellow, boxy, and robotic cold pill who becomes Ozzy's best friend. His right arm is a cannon used to shoot an assorted variety of medication, including one that freezes any target. He is a follower of written rules and compensates for his doubts of himself by acting haughtily. He is intelligent, clever, and dedicated to work. Straight-laced and by-the-book, he is in disagreement with the crude humour and unorthodox methods of Ozzy, but respects Ozzy as a partner due to his dedication to fighting diseases.
  • Brandy Norwood as Leah Estrogen, Mayor Phlegmming’s secretary and Ozzy's love interest, greatly relied upon by him for her skills. She is one of few inhabitants of Frank who realize the flaws of the current administration and one of the few willing to believe Osmosis’ claims of a large-scale infection.
  • William Shatner as Mayor Phlegmming, the short, overweight, and self-centered mayor of the "City of Frank". He is constantly preoccupied with everything but his job, except when it concerns planning his re-election. His name is a pun on the word phlegm.
  • Ron Howard as Tom Colonic, Phlegmming's rival for the mayoralty of the City of Frank. His political platform is diametrically opposed to the incumbent's, instead promoting less junk food and a healthier "City of Frank". His manner and attitude appears to be modeled after President John F. Kennedy.
  • Joel Silver as the Police Chief, Ozzy's boss who works at the precinct.

Live action[edit]

  • Bill Murray as Frank Detorre, a widower in his 40's who works as a zookeeper. He is prone to eating junk food, behaves laconically, and has minimal concern for his health. The animated part of the film takes place inside his body.
  • Elena Franklin as Shane Detorre, Frank’s 10-year-old daughter. Due to her father’s shortcomings, his health is very important to her. She has become somewhat depressed after her mother’s death, and as a result her relationships with other people are suffering.
  • Molly Shannon as Mrs. Boyd, Shane’s science and P. E. teacher. Having had her reputation and those of her three children ruined after her embarrassment by a vomiting accident Frank caused due to a misunderstanding about oyster consumption, she has a 200-yard restraining order against him to prevent any further embarrassment.
  • Chris Elliott as Bob, Frank's brother. After Frank got fired from his oyster vomiting incident, Bob hired him at his zoo.


^a Koldreliff is revealed to be Drix's surname, which is a play on the words of "cold relief", which is his primary function, being a cold pill, in the spin-off television program, Ozzy & Drix.

^b Possibly a prototype design of Thrax who has red skin and purple hair in the film.


Osmosis Jones went through development hell during production. The animated sequences, directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon, went into production as planned, but acquiring both a director and a star actor for the live-action sequences took a considerable amount of time, until Bill Murray was cast as the main character of Frank, and Peter and Bobby Farrelly stepped in to direct the live-action sequences. As part of their contract, the Farrelly brothers are credited as the primary directors of the film, although they did no supervision of the animated portions of the film. Will Smith was interested in the part, but in the end his schedule didn't permit it.


Box office[edit]

Osmosis Jones opened on August 10, 2001 in 2,305 theaters worldwide. Upon its original release, the film lost a considerable amount of money, and was the second-to-last production for Warner Bros.' feature traditional animation department (following The Iron Giant, and followed by Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which both also lost money upon their original releases). The movie opened at #7 in its first opening weekend at the U.S. box office, accumulating $5,271,248 on its opening week while earning $2,286. The film soon grossed $13,596,911.[1]


Osmosis Jones received mixed reviews from film critics.[2] Based on 108 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 55% of critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10.[3] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 57 based on 28 reviews.[2] The animated parts of Osmosis Jones were praised for their plot and fast pace, in contrast with the criticized live action segments, with Rotten Tomatoes' consensus of the film stating, "The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic." Robert Koehler of Variety praised the film for its animated and live-action segments intervening, claiming it to be "the most extensive interplay of live action and animation since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".[4] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4.[5] The use of toilet humor in Osmosis Jones, as done in most films directed by the Farrelly brothers, was widely criticized. As such, Lisa Alspector of Chicago Reader described the film as a "cathartically disgusting adventure movie".[6] Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide praised the film's animation and its glimpse of intelligence although did criticize the humor as being "so distasteful".[7] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly felt that the film had a diverse premise as it "oscillates between streaky black comedy and sanitary instruction", however the scatological themes were again pointed out. Jonathan Foreman of New York Post claimed Osmosis Jones to have generic plotting, saying that "It's no funnier than your average grade-school biology lesson and less pedagogically useful than your typical Farrelly brothers comedy." Chris Hewitt of Miami Times described Chris Rock's, Brandy Norwood's and Laurence Fishburne's voice work as Osmosis, Leah and Thrax respectively as "classy" although considered the film to be politically correct as all three of these actors are African-American. Michael Sragow of Baltimore Sun praised David Hyde Pierce's performance as Drix, claiming him to be "hilarious" and a "a take-charge dose of medicine".

Footage cut from the final film[edit]

  • In the original script and in early cuts of the film, a scene was featured when Osmosis and Drix go to the Gonad's Gym. It involved them talking to the "exercising" sperm cells. The scene was cut in order to stay family friendly. The Gonad's Gym logo does appear on Drix's suitcase during a scene in the police station locker room.
  • In an earlier "cut" of the film, Osmosis and Drix visit an amusement park behind Frank's eye, called "See World". A sign advertising the latter can still be seen near Frank's stomach, which functions as the "arrivals" terminal of an airport.
  • The DVD release contains three extended (and half-animated) scenes, all of which appear in cut-down form in the final edit:
    • Osmosis and Drix visit the eyes, while Drix complains that he has to visit the nose and the throat. Osmosis gets doughnuts and calls the information desk on his 'cell' phone while at the eyes.
    • Frank picks his nose during the dam-bursting sequence, and Osmosis saves Drix from ending up on Frank's fingertip. In the end, they are inhaled into the sinuses.
    • The race to catch Thrax on his way to the uvula is extended; we see him leap from his car and glide away. After Osmosis takes the wrong turn, he takes a "shortcut" to there by way of the esophagus, riding a massive, acidic belch up the throat (a reference to the 1991 classic Thelma & Louise). He says "What the hell is a uvula?" It was later edited from hell to heck.
  • A draft of the script reveals that Osmosis, as a young boy, went to a family reunion. At that time Frank went to the doctor to have some blood removed, possibly in a blood drive. The needle drew out all of Osmosis' relatives, apparently leaving him all alone. This would have add to his "loneliness" in the film. The ending has Frank getting a blood transfusion to save his life, with his own prior blood. Thus Osmosis' relatives would have returned, in a parody of the abductees returning in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This was detailed in the film's commentary.
  • Another scene that was deleted so as to cut time was one where it showed how Phlegmming got kicked out of the office. In the final cut it's assumed that he was impeached or that he simply lost his run for re-election but in a deleted scene he realizes all of his mistakes and willingly resigns thus putting Tom Colonic in office. This explains how he lost office at the film's end. This was supposed to connect with a scene when he sees the city going up in flames and sheds a tear upon realizing all that he has done has caused Frank's near-destruction (this scene being left in the final cut).


A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on August 7, 2001 by Atlantic Records. The soundtrack failed to make it to the Billboard charts, but Trick Daddy's single "Take It to da House" managed to make it to 88 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

MPAA issue[edit]

Osmosis Jones was originally rated PG-13 for "crude language" and "bodily humor" in 2000. Warner Bros. edited the film to make it family-friendly, and in 2001 the film was re-rated PG for "bodily humor".[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "Osmosis Jones". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Osmosis Jones". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  3. ^ "Osmosis Jones". IGN. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  4. ^ Koehler, Robert (2001-08-02). "Osmosis Jones". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  5. ^ Osmosis Jones review Ebert, Roger
  6. ^ Alspector, Lisa. "Osmosis Jones". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  7. ^ McDonagh, Maitland. "Osmosis Jones". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 

External links[edit]