Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tom Sito
|Produced by||Dennis Edwards
|Written by||Marc Hyman|
David Hyde Pierce
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Edited by||Lois Freeman-Fox
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Osmosis Jones is a 2001 live-action/animated buddy cop 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.
It met with mixed reviews, and was a box office bomb, earning $14 million against a budget of $70 million. Despite the lack of accolades, the film sold well in home media. It also served as the pilot to the television series 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.
Frank Detorre (Bill Murray) is a widowed slovenly zookeeper at the Sucat Memorial Zoo in Rhode Island. Much to the frustration of his young daughter, Shane (Elena Franklin), he eats compulsively unhealthy and has minimal concern for germs or disease. While trying to eat a hard-boiled egg 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), an agent of the Frank PD, is an adventure-seeking white blood cell with a good sense of humor. He is a rebel cop, frequently disobeying authority to do what he thinks is right. He is often mocked by his fellow cops due to his rebellious nature. He has been relocated to the mouth to fight against germs entering the body via ingestion after he induced Frank to vomit all over Shane's science and P. E. teacher, Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon) at the school's science fair. This was considered a false alarm because he had been the only one to suspect an incoming pathological threat from the raw oyster Frank had eaten from one of the displays. After several newcomer germs, believed to be gingivitis, hijack a "squad car" in the mouth, Osmosis and another officer in an FPD helicopter, are pulled into the lungs by a massive yawn while in pursuit. After the germs evade capture and pass into "Immunity's" jurisdiction, Osmosis disobeys direct orders as he pursues the germ on foot and accidentally triggers a major cramp in Frank's leg.
Meanwhile, Mayor Phlegmming (William Shatner) is preparing for re-election, campaigning with the promise of more junk food. His reckless policies are largely responsible for Frank's deteriorating health, but his re-election hopes are complicated by the arrival of Thrax (Laurence Fishburne), a deadly virus that came with the hard-boiled egg. In an attempt to cover up the severity of the situation, Phlegmming "tells" Frank to take a cold-suppressant pill. The pill, Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff (David Hyde Pierce), arrives in the body and covers Frank's infected throat with a disinfectant to soothe the irritation. Osmosis is assigned as Drix's partner. Later on, an influenza virus tells Osmosis and Drix about Thrax's plot to masquerade as a common cold while at the same time plotting to kill Frank with a high fever. Osmosis and Drix confront Thrax in a club in one of Frank's zits, where Drix launches a grenade of medication at Thrax and his goons, popping the skin blemish, killing nearly all of Thrax's men, and seemingly ending the virus's siege. The pop of the zit further aggravates Mrs. Boyd, when Frank comes to apologize for his earlier action of vomiting on her at the science fair.
Thrax survives the explosion and after killing off his remaining henchmen, launches a lone assault on Frank's hypothalamus gland (the portion of the brain that controls the temperature) by disabling its self-regulative capabilities. There, he uses his virus-infecting claw to destroy the protoplasmic barrier around the gland and takes a DNA bead. Soon after, Leah discovers his sabotage 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 confusion using pollen. Osmosis and Thrax fight on one of Shane's eyeballs and end up on Shane's false eyelashes after she blinks, which she was wearing atop her natural ones on her way to a hiking trip.
During the fight, Thrax threatens to kill Shane, but Ozzy causes him to knock Shane's false eyelash 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 give up, Frank is revived when Ozzy returns to his body with one of Shane's tears with the missing hypothalamus chromosome. Ozzy is reinstated into "Immunity" with full privileges, he and Drix are declared heroes with the Chief of Police (Joel Silver) giving Ozzy his job back. Having survived Thrax's attack, Frank has begun to improve his diet and personal hygiene.
Meanwhile, Phlegmming has lost his position as mayor and is now a janitor in 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 Frank's farting.
Animation Voice Cast
- 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 humor 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.
- Bill Murray as Frank Detorre (a.k.a. Downtown Frank) - 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.
- Rita Murphy as Red-Headed Girl on Bus - She was the girl with the red hair on the bus and at the zoo at the beginning.
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.
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.
Osmosis Jones received mixed reviews from film critics. Based on 108 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 55% of critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. 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. 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". The New York Times wrote "the film, with its effluvia-festival brand of humor, is often fun, and the rounded, blobby rendering of the characters is likable. But the picture tries too hard to be offensive to all ages. I suspect that even the littlest viewers will be too old for that spit." Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4. 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". Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide praised the film's animation and its glimpse of intelligence although did criticize the humor as being "so distasteful". 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 take-charge dose of medicine".
Footage cut from the final film
- 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, and a sperm is seen in the mayor's building as a statue with a plaque on the stand underneath with the words "OUR FOUNDER".
- 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 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.
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".
- "Osmosis Jones". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- "Osmosis Jones". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- "Osmosis Jones". IGN. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- Koehler, Robert (2001-08-02). "Osmosis Jones". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- Osmosis Jones review Ebert, Roger
- Alspector, Lisa. "Osmosis Jones". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- McDonagh, Maitland. "Osmosis Jones". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-12-24.