Osmosis Jones

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Osmosis Jones
Osmosis Jones poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Animation:
Tom Sito
Piet Kroon
Bobby Farrelly
Peter Farrelly
Produced by Dennis Edwards
Bobby 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
Edited by Lois Freeman-Fox
Stephen Schaffer
Sam Seig
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 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 $14 million[2]

Osmosis Jones is a 2001 American live-action/animated action comedy adventure film with animated scenes directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon and live-action scenes directed by the Farrelly brothers.[3] 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 blood cells and 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, with critics praising the animated portions but criticizing the live-action portions and their use of gross-out humor. The film was also a box office bomb, earning $14 million against a budget of $70 million,[1] though it later sold well in home media. It also served as the pilot to the Kids' WB spin-off television series Ozzy & Drix (2002–04), where the two main characters get transferred by a mosquito to the body of a teenage boy named Hector and continue their battle against germs and viruses from there. Unlike the film, however, the series does not contain any live-action sequences and the two leads are recast.


Frank Detorre (Bill Murray) is an unkempt, slovenly zookeeper at the Sucat Memorial Zoo in Rhode Island. Depressed by the loss of his wife Maggie years earlier, he copes by eating unhealthily and ignores basic hygiene, to the annoyance of his young daughter Shane (Elena Franklin). During a lunch break, Frank eats a boiled egg he dropped onto the ground after a chimpanzee had stolen it and put it in its mouth.

Inside Frank's body, Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones (Chris Rock), a rebellious and disgraced white blood cell officer of the Frank PD, recklessly chases germs from the egg, but fails to catch them and instead causes Frank to have a bad leg cramp. Meanwhile, facing a serious challenge to his re-election prospects, Mayor Phlegmming (William Shatner) doubles down on Frank's consumption of junk-food, despite concerns from his secretary Leah Estrogen (Brandy). Meanwhile, Thrax (Laurence Fishburne), a deadly red virus, emerges from the leftover egg and sadistically causes inflammation in the throat.

Unwilling to admit responsibility for the recent symptoms, Phlegmming instructs Frank to take a cold pill through brain signals. The suppressant, Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff (David Hyde Pierce), is partnered with Ozzy to investigate the recent sore throat. While Drix cools off the inflammation, Ozzy gets a short eyewitness testimony from a terrified bacterium who saw Thrax arrive.

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 expelling Ozzy and Drix before Frank inhales them back into the sinuses. While continuing the investigation, Drix hears that Phlegmming remembers Ozzy setting the worst record in Frank's body and he doesn't want him to do the same thing when Frank planned a trip to the wing festival in Buffalo, New York. When he wonders aloud why Ozzy had a record, Ozzy reveals to Drix that two years ago, during a science fair at Shane's school, he caused Frank to publicly vomit on Shane's science and P.E. teacher, Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon), after seeing a deadly virus on an oyster Frank ate earlier after observing Zack's oyster display thanks to a boy telling people to look at Frank. The story ran in the newspaper the next day, resulting in Frank, Shane, Mrs. Boyd, and even their whole families becoming the town laughingstocks overnight causing them to be humiliated every year as well as Frank being fired from his job at the pea soup factory by his manager and supervisor after he embarrassed them. His brother and Shane's uncle Bob (Chris Elliott) later helped him get a job at the zoo, where Frank still gets zero respect. Ozzy, in turn, was then suspended from his job working in the kidneys and then demoted to patrol duty in the mouth for excessive use of unnecessary force. Ozzy tells Drix how he wonders every day if what he did was right since then. Drix, in turn, assures Ozzy that he did the right thing as raw oysters are frequently breeding grounds for potentially dangerous bacteria which is what Ozzy was trying to tell everybody.

Based on information from a vaccine virus, Ozzy and Drix go undercover at a nightclub located within a large zit on Frank's forehead, intending to infiltrate Thrax's gang. Once there, the two discover Thrax's plan to steal chromosomes from the hypothalamus, driving up Frank's body temperature and killing him in 48 hours. However, Ozzy's cover is blown and he is forced to scream for help from Drix, who destroys the club with a grenade. The explosion bursts the zit during Frank's meeting with Mrs. Boyd, causing it to land on her lip, grossing her out, and she angrily screams at him to leave. In response, a furious Phlegmming closes the investigation, fires Ozzy, and orders Drix to leave the city.

Having survived the assault, Thrax kills his last surviving gang members, then discreetly breaks into the hypothalamus gland and steals a DNA bead from a chromosome. Frank's body temperature begins to rise. Ozzy, realizing that Thrax was still a threat, stops Drix from leaving and convinces him to come back and help him finish the case. Thrax then kidnaps Leah and flees to the uvula to escape. When Phlegmming attempts to speak with Bob, But it is useless, He began to scream in fear. As Frank is taken to the hospital in a fever induced coma, Ozzy and Drix give chase and save Leah but Thrax escapes out of the mouth by using pollen, causing Frank to sneeze and expelling Thrax from his body. With Drix's help, Ozzy pursues Thrax to the surface of Shane's right eye and her false eyelash. Thrax pins Ozzy down and threatens to kill Shane next, but gets stuck in the eyelash; Ozzy's pliable body allows him to escape and hang onto Shane's real eyelash as the false eyelash slides off and lands in a glass of rubbing alcohol, dissolving a screaming Thrax to death.

As Frank's temperature reaches 108 degrees, his heartbeat flatlines as he suffers hyperpyrexia, leaving Shane devastated. Riding on one of Shane's tears, Ozzy reenters Frank's body with Thrax's necklace of DNA beads, reviving Frank just in time. Having narrowly cheated death, Frank commits himself to living a much healthier lifestyle with the help of Shane, while Ozzy begins a relationship with Leah and is re-instated to the force with Drix as his new partner. Phlegmming loses his position as mayor and is reduced to working as a custodian in the bowels. He later accidentally ejects himself from the body by pushing a button that triggers Frank's flatulence.


Animation voice cast[edit]

  • Chris Rock as Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, an overzealous blue and white blood cell with little respect for authority. After making Frank publicly throw up all over Mrs. Boyd to expel a virus he saw in an oyster Frank had eaten, he was suspended for unnecessary force and placed in out-of-the-way patrols as punishment. 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, pathogenic agent. Thrax is referred to as "The Red Death" (a common nickname for the Ebola virus) but does not appear to cause an existing disease, although 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 his other victims' hypothalamus as a trophy. His left index finger is a long claw that can cause instant inflammation. This lets him bypass the blood-brain barrier, alter the properties of other cells, or outright kill them. Although Thrax is a virus, his name appears to be a pun on "anthrax"; despite the fact that the anthrax microbe is the bacteria bacillus Bacillus anthracis rather than a virus.
  • 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, 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. His name represents the human Colon.
  • Joel Silver as the Police Chief, Ozzy's boss who works at the precinct.
  • Steve Susskind as Mob Germ Boss
  • Carlos Alazraqui as Spanish Germ
  • Antonio Fargas as Chill
  • Rodger Bumpass as Announcer for Nerve News Network

Live-action cast[edit]

  • 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 Maggie'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 oldest daughter Shirley and two younger sons Ralph and Chuck ruined after her embarrassment by a vomiting accident Frank caused by Ozzy due to a misunderstanding about oyster consumption, she has a 200-yard restraining order against him to prevent any further embarrassment. At the end, she gave up the 200-yard restraining order and lets him and Shane go on their camping/hiking trip, presumably after she saw Frank being taken to the hospital by an ambulance and then learned he nearly died, but it is unknown if she is still upset at Frank for throwing up all over her in front of public or she isn't anymore.
  • Chris Elliott as Bob Detorre, Frank's brother and Shane's uncle. Two years ago, after Frank got fired from his job at the pea soup factory due to the oyster vomiting incident thanks to Ozzy for making him throw up all over Mrs. Boyd in front of public, 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 of Ozzy, 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. However, Warner Bros. edited the film to make it family-friendly, and in 2001 the film was re-rated PG for "bodily humor".[citation needed]


Box office[edit]

Osmosis Jones had its world premiere screening on August 7, 2001 at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. Shortly after that, the film widely opened on August 10, 2001 in 2,305 theaters worldwide. Upon its original release, the film was a financial stump, 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.[further explanation needed] The film soon grossed $13,596,911.[1]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55% based on 108 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic."[4] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, the film has received an average score of 57 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

The animated parts of Osmosis Jones were praised for their plot and fast pace, in contrast with the criticized live action segments. 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".[7] 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."[8] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4.[9]

The use of crude humor in the film, as seen in most films directed by the Farrelly brothers, was widely criticized. As such, Lisa Alspector of the Chicago Reader described the film as a "cathartically disgusting adventure movie".[10] Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide praised the film's animation and its glimpse of intelligence although did criticize the humor as being "so distasteful".[11] 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." 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).


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Osmosis Jones". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  2. ^ "Osmosis Jones (2001) - Box Office Mojo".
  3. ^ "Osmosis Jones". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  4. ^ "Osmosis Jones". IGN. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  5. ^ "Osmosis Jones review". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  6. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  7. ^ Koehler, Robert (2001-08-02). "Osmosis Jones". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  8. ^ "Movie Review - FILM REVIEW; Bill Murray as a Battlefield and Showing It - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com.
  9. ^ Osmosis Jones review Ebert, Roger
  10. ^ Alspector, Lisa. "Osmosis Jones". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  11. ^ McDonagh, Maitland. "Osmosis Jones". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-12-24.

External links[edit]