Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Dennis Edwards
|Written by||Marc Hyman|
David Hyde Pierce
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Edited by||Lois Freeman-Fox
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$14 million|
Osmosis Jones is a 2001 American live-action/animated buddy cop comedy film with animated scenes directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon and live-action scenes directed by the Farrelly brothers. The film centers on Frank Detorre, a slovenly zookeeper; the live-action scenes are set outside Frank's body, while the animated scenes are set inside his body, which is portrayed as a city inhabited by anthropomorphic microorganisms. White blood cell cop Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones and cold pill Drix must prevent deadly virus Thrax from killing Frank within forty-eight hours.
The film was met with mixed reviews, and earned $14 million against a budget of $70 million. Despite the lack of accolades, it sold well in home media. It also served as the pilot to the Kids' WB television series Ozzy & Drix (2002–04), where Ozzy and Drix get transferred by a mosquito to the body of a teenage boy named Hector Cruz and continue their battle against germs and viruses from there.
Frank Detorre (Bill Murray) is an unkempt, slovenly zookeeper at the Sucat Memorial Zoo in Rhode Island. Depressed by the loss of his wife years earlier, he copes by unhealthy eating and ignoring basic hygiene, to the annoyance of his young daughter Shane (Elena Franklin). Shane wants her dad to chaperone her school's hiking field trip so as to convince her dad to get more exercise, but Frank instead wants to head to a fried food festival happening the same weekend.
Inside the body, Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones (Chris Rock) is a rebellious and disgraced white blood cell officer of the Frank PD, who was demoted to patrol duty in the mouth after an incident where he caused Frank to accidentally vomit on Shane's science teacher, Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon), who had since placed a restraining order on him. Facing a challenge to his re-election prospects, Mayor Phlegmming (William Shatner) doubles down on his junk-food policies, blatantly ignoring their effect on Frank's declining health. While on break at the zoo, Frank eats a hard-boiled egg that had been in the mouth of a chimpanzee and had fallen onto the ground, allowing Thrax (Laurence Fishburne), a deadly virus, to enter the body. Thrax causes inflammation in the mouth area, killing all nearby cells and causing a sore throat. Unwilling to admit responsibility, Phlegmming instructs Frank to take a cold pill. The suppressant, Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff (David Hyde Pierce), is assigned to assist Ozzy in investigating and neutralizing the cause of Frank's symptoms. Ozzy finds a terrified minor bacteria cell at the site of the inflammation that informs him that the "Red Death" has entered the body.
Thrax assumes leadership of a gang of sweat germs and launches an attack on the mucus dam in Frank's nose, causing a runny nose, nearly ejecting Ozzy and Drix before Frank, lacking a tissue, inhales them back in. Ozzy briefly catches a glimpse of Thrax, but is unable to gather any more info before the mucus dam's control center collapses. On a hunch, Ozzy and Drix shake down a vaccine virus for information, who directs them to a nightclub: a giant zit on Frank's forehead. With this, Ozzy goes undercover. In the backroom, Ozzy hears from Thrax directly as he tells his gang of his plan to hijack the brain's hypothalamus in order to deregulate the body's temperature, causing a fatal fever. Ozzy's cover is blown when he attempts to ask for details but is saved by Drix. The two then launch a grenade at the gang which pops the zit on Frank's forehead. Frank, who had been trying to convince Mrs. Boyd to remove the restraining order for the weekend just so he can chaperone the field trip (out of his conscience), is immediately shooed out, as his zit had landed on her lip following Ozzy's assault. Back at the Frank PD, Ozzy is reprimanded by the mayor for excessive force and risking causing a public panic. Ozzy and Drix try to explain the gravity of the situation they were dealing with, but Phlegmming instead closes the investigation, fires Ozzy, and orders Drix to leave the city, against the protests of his secretary, Leah Estrogen (Brandy Norwood), and the police chief.
Thrax, having survived the assault, kills off the rest of his surviving gang after one of them suggests to lay low and incubate. He then moves out on his own by breaking into the hypothalamus gland, where he steals a DNA bead, removing the body's ability to regulate temperature. Though an alarm goes off in the mayor's office, Phlegmming ignores it, but Leah heads to the hypothalamus, where she is abducted by Thrax. At the same, Ozzy, discovering that Thrax is still alive, intercepts Drix as the latter is preparing to leave the body via urination. The two reconcile and resume their search for Thrax. As Frank is taken to the hospital in a fever-induced coma, Ozzy and Drix rush to the mouth to rescue Leah and are successful, but Thrax escapes by using pollen to make Frank sneeze him out. Using Drix's arm cannon, Ozzy pursues Thrax alone to the surface of one of the eyes of Shane, who is in the emergency room with her dad as doctors struggle to try and lower his body temperature from nearing the fatal 108-degree threshold. Thrax gloats about killing Shane as well, but gets his hand stuck in a false eyelash Shane is wearing; Ozzy escapes at the last minute with Thrax's DNA bead chain before the eyelash falls off and lands in a beaker of alcohol, dissolving Thrax.
As Frank's body temperature reaches 108 degrees, his heart flatlines and doctors are unable to lower his temperature or resuscitate him. Shane, blaming herself because of things she said to Frank earlier, begins to cry as she apologizes to her lifeless father, and Ozzy uses a teardrop to ride back into Frank's mouth. The other officers immediately replace the missing chromosome, and Frank's heart restarts, to the amazement of the doctors and Shane's relief. Having narrowly cheated death, Frank commits himself to living a healthier lifestyle for himself and Shane, and goes on a hiking trip with her. Ozzy is re-instated to the force with Drix as his new partner and begins a relationship with Leah. Phlegmming later loses his position as mayor following Frank's near-death experience caused by his actions, is reduced to a custodian in the bowels, and accidentally ejects himself from the body when, out of curiosity, he pushes a button that triggers Frank's flatulence.
Animation voice cast
- Chris Rock as Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, an urban, overzealous blue-skinned white blood cell, and the main protagonist of the film with little respect for authority. Since he was discredited for unnecessary force, he was placed in out-of-the-way patrols, much to his frustration. Therefore, he seizes any opportunity to be able to make a difference, which usually involves ignoring orders and causing tons of collateral damage. He is able to contort his body in many ways that allow for undercover work and escaping otherwise deadly situations.
- Laurence Fishburne as Thrax, a tall, extremely virulent, pathogenic agent and the main antagonist of the film. Although his name is suggestive of anthrax, Thrax is referred to as "The Red Death", a common nickname for the ebola virus. However, he does not appear to represent any existing disease, instead claiming, "Ebola is a case of dandruff compared to me!" He has killed numerous other people prior to his arrival in Frank, obtaining each previous victim as a result of their poor personal hygiene. 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 cause severe inflammation, melt the cellular equivalent of steel (i.e. the blood-brain barrier), and alter the properties of other cells.
- David Hyde Pierce as Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff, a stoic cold pill who becomes Ozzy's best friend. His right arm is a cannon used to shoot an assorted variety of medication, usually an anti-inflammatory agent. He is a follower of written rules and compensates for his doubts of himself by acting haughtily. He is intelligent, clever, and dedicated to his work. Unlike Ozzy, he's an extremely accurate shooter. Straight-laced and by-the-book, he frequently clashes with the crude humor and unorthodox methods of Ozzy, but grows to respect Ozzy as a partner due for his dedication to his job.
- Brandy Norwood as Leah Estrogen, Mayor Phlegmming's secretary and Ozzy's love interest. Intelligent, sharp, and strong-willed, 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. Her last name is a reference to a hormone predominately present in females, but also exists to an extent in males as well.
- 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. He refuses to admit any of his faults, and his ego indirectly leads to the near death of Frank. His name is a pun on the word phlegm.
- Ron Howard as Tom Colonic, Phlegmming's rival for the mayoralty in the City of Frank. His political platform is diametrically opposed to the incumbent's, promoting less junk food for a healthier "City of Frank". His manner and attitude appears to be modeled after President John F. Kennedy. His last name appears to be a reference to the colon, and he mentions in a campaign ad that he lives in Frank's bowels.
- Joel Silver as the Police Chief, Ozzy's strict, well-meaning, but sometimes absent-minded boss who works at the precinct. Despite chewing out Ozzy again for his use of excessive force in catching small time viruses, he is somehow swayed by Ozzy's cynical sarcasm to allow the latter to investigate the damages caused by Thrax.
- Bill Murray as Frank Detorre, a widower in his 40s 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, which is referred to by the cells as "the City of Frank".
- 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. Ever since Frank vomited on her at a science fair due to the former consuming a contaminated oyster (that Ozzy ejected), she has a 200-yard restraining order against him to prevent any further embarrassment.
- Chris Elliott as Bob Detorre, Frank's brother. After Frank got fired from his job at the pea soup factory due to the oyster vomiting incident, Bob hired him at his zoo.
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 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 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 crude 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". Despite of the mixed reviews, the film received numerous Annie award nominations including Best Animated Feature (losing to Shrek)
Footage cut from the final film
- In the original script and in early cuts of the film, a scene was featured when Ozzy 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, Ozzy 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:
- Ozzy and Drix visit the eyes, while Drix complains that he has to visit the nose and the throat. Ozzy 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 Ozzy 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 Ozzy 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 Ozzy, 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 Ozzy's relatives, leaving him all alone. This would have added to his "loneliness" in the film. The ending has Frank getting a blood transfusion to save his life, with his own prior blood. Thus Ozzy's 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.
- Once Upon a Time... Life, an animated series with similar anthropomorphic representations of cells and germs.
- Inside Out, a computer-animated film that is also set inside the human body
- "Osmosis Jones". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- "Osmosis Jones (2001) - Box Office Mojo".
- "Osmosis Jones". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 1, 2016. Cite error: Invalid
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- "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.
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