Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bobby Farrelly|
Piet Kroon (animation director)
Tom Sito (animation director)
|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 directed by the Farrelly brothers with animated scenes directed by Piet Kroon and Tom Sito. Starring the voices of Chris Rock, Laurence Fishburne, David Hyde Pierce, Brandy Norwood and William Shatner alongside live actors Bill Murray, Molly Shannon and Chris Elliott, the film centers on Frank DeTorre (Murray), 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 parameciums. In the animated sequences, white blood cell cop Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones and cold pill Drix attempt to prevent deadly virus Thrax from killing Frank within forty-eight hours.
Produced by Warner Bros. Feature Animation and the Farrelly brothers' Conundrum Entertainment, Osmosis Jones premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre on August 7, 2001 before being released in general theaters three days later on August 10, 2001. The film was met with mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, who praised the animated scenes, the voice cast (particularly Rock's, Pierce's and Fishburne's) and plot, but criticized the live-action portions and the overuse of gross-out humor. The film was also a box-office bomb, earning $14 million against a budget of $70 million, though it later sold well in home media. A spin-off animated television series titled Ozzy & Drix later ran on Kids' WB from 2002 to 2004, in which the titular characters suddenly get removed and exiled by a mosquito that transfers them to the body of a teenage boy named Hector Cruz and continue their battle against germs and viruses from in it as Private investigators. In addition, all episodes use scenes from its movie counterpart.
Frank DeTorre is an unkempt and slovenly zookeeper at the Sucat Memorial Zoo in Rhode Island. Depressed by the loss of his wife years earlier, he copes by overeating and refusing to exercise, to the annoyance of his young daughter Shane. Inside his body, or the "City of Frank" as known by its anthropromorphized inhabitants, white blood cell Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones is an over-zealous officer of the Frank Police Department, the city's center for immune responses against bodily threats, who was demoted to patrol duty in the mouth after he induced Frank to vomit against orders. This incident got Frank fired from his previous job at a pea soup factory, and banned from visiting Shane's school due to a restraining order filed by her P.E. and science teacher, Mrs. Boyd.
Two years later, facing a serious challenge to his reelection prospects, Mayor Phlegmming doubles down on his junk food policies, ignoring their effect on Frank's health. This causes Frank to eat a boiled egg covered in filth, allowing Thrax, a deadly virus known as "The Red Death", to enter the throat. Unwilling to admit responsibility, Phlegmming instructs Frank to take a cold pill through brain signals. The pill, Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff, proceeds to disinfect the throat, covering up any evidence of Thrax's arrival. To his displeasure, Ozzy is subsequently assigned to assist the stoic and straight-laced Drix in his investigation. Meanwhile, Thrax assumes leadership of a gang of sweat germs and launches an attack on the mucus dam in Frank's nose, nearly killing Drix before Ozzy rescues him.
The two pay a visit to Chill, a flu vaccine and one of Ozzy's informants, who directs them to Thrax's hideout in a germ-ridden nightclub in a large zit on Frank's forehead. Ozzy goes undercover and infiltrates Thrax's gang, where he learns that Thrax is a relatively new virus seeking his own chapter in the medical history books and, using his knowledge of DNA, intends to kill Frank in a record forty-eight hours. When Ozzy is discovered, Drix comes to his aid, resulting in a massive brawl that culminates in Ozzy destroying the zit using one of Drix's grenades. Its accidental destruction causes it to land on Mrs. Boyd's lip during a meeting with her and Frank, ruining any chance for him to apologize. In response, Phlegmming closes the investigation, has Ozzy fired from the force, and orders Drix to leave after reminding him that his services are only temporary.
Unbeknownst to the duo, Thrax has survived the zit's destruction, killed his remaining henchmen and begun a lone assault on the hypothalamus, where he steals a crucial nucleotide. He then abducts Phlegmming's secretary, Leah Estrogen, and flees to the mouth to escape. His actions disable the body's ability to regulate temperature, causing a deadly heat spike in the city that develops into a dangerous fever, resulting in mass panic. As Frank is taken to the hospital in a fever coma, Ozzy, having discovered Thrax's survival, convinces a dejected Drix not to leave, and the two catch up to Thrax and rescue Leah. However, Thrax uses pollen to induce Frank to sneeze and blow him out of the mouth onto Shane's eye. Drix shoots Ozzy out of the mouth after Thrax, where they land on Shane's cornea and a fight between them breaks out that continues on her false eyelashes. Thrax appears to gain the upper hand and threatens to make Shane his next victim, but Ozzy, having outsmarted Thrax by tricking him into getting his hand embedded in the lash, escapes just as Shane's lash falls off her face at the last minute and into a beaker of rubbing alcohol, where Thrax dissolves.
As Frank's temperature goes over 108 degrees, he goes into cardiac arrest. Riding one of Shane's tears as she mourns, Ozzy falls back in to Frank's mouth with the stolen nucleotide, reviving him just in time. Having narrowly cheated death, Frank commits himself to living a healthier lifestyle, which means Mayor Phlegmming is impeached from office and his opponent Tom Colonic wins by a landslide in the election. Ozzy is reinstated into the police force as he begins a relationship with Leah, and Drix stays as Ozzy's new partner. Phlegmming is reduced to janitorial duty in the bowels and is accidentally ejected from Frank's body when he triggers his flatulence.
- Bill Murray as Frank DeTorre; the animated scenes of the film take place inside his body, which is referred to by its inhabitants as "the City of Frank"
- Elena Franklin as Shane DeTorre, Frank's 10-year-old daughter
- Molly Shannon as Mrs. Boyd, Shane's science and P.E. teacher
- Chris Elliott as Bob DeTorre, Frank's brother and Shane's uncle
- Chris Rock as Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, an overzealous white blood cell with little respect for authority
- Laurence Fishburne as Thrax, a tall, extremely virulent, pathogenic agent
- David Hyde Pierce as Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff, a stoic cold pill who becomes Ozzy's best friend and partner
- Brandy as Leah Estrogen, Mayor Phlegmming's secretary and Ozzy's love interest
- William Shatner as Mayor Phlegmming, the self-centered and corrupt mayor of the "City of Frank"
- Ron Howard as Tom Colonic, Phlegmming's rival for the mayoralty of the "City of Frank"
- Joel Silver (uncredited) as the police chief, Ozzy's boss
- Steve Susskind as Mob Germ Boss
- Carlos Alazraqui as Spanish Germ
- Antonio Fargas as Chill, a flu vaccine and Ozzy's informant
- Rodger Bumpass as Announcer for Nerve News Network / Joe Cramp
- Paul Christie as Dan Matter / Germ
- Richard Steven Horvitz as Male Red Blood Cell
- Kid Rock as Kidney Rock
- Joe C. as Kidney Rock (Released Posthumously)
- Herschel Sparber as Bruiser
- Eddie Barth as Conductor
- Robert Wisdom as Big Germ
- Danny Mann as Musician Cell
- Paul Pape as Male Red Blood Cell #2
- Al Rodrigo as the Frank Police Department walkie talkie
- Doug Stone as a police officer with a big germ / Jamie, a police officer of Frank Police Department who broke his neck, arm, and leg due to Germ #2
- Anne Lockhart as Female Red Blood Cell
- Jonathan Adams as Tom, a police officer of Frank Police Department who broke his arm just like Jamie
- Sherry Lynn as Trudy McCartney, a news reporter for Nerve News Network who works with Dan Matter
- Chris Phillips as Doug, a firefighter who is a close friend of Ozzy
- Donald Fullilove as Doughnut
- Rif Hutton as Charlie, one of Thrax's minions
- Mickie McGowan as a Librarian
- Eddie Frierson as a police officer of Frank Police Department
- "Stuttering" John Melendez as Artie (a nod to former fellow Howard Stern Show alum Artie Lange).
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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 would not permit it.
Osmosis Jones was originally rated PG-13 by the MPAA for "crude language" and "bodily humor" in 2000. However, Warner Bros. edited the film to make it family-friendly; and in 2001 when it was released, the film was re-rated PG on appeal for "bodily humor".
Osmosis Jones had its world premiere screening on August 7, 2001 at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre before being widely released 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 project produced by Warner Bros. Feature Animation (preceding The Iron Giant and followed by Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which both also failed at the box office upon their original releases). The film opened at #7 in its first opening weekend at the U.S. box office, accumulating $5,271,248 on its opening week. The film soon grossed $13,596,911. The film was a box office bomb, unable to recover its $70 million production budget.
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." 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". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.
Reception depended on the film medium: the animated parts of Osmosis Jones received overwhelmingly positive reviews for the plot and fast pace in contrast to the live-action segments, where critical reception was mixed to negative. 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 gross-out humor in the film's live-action sequences, 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". 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." 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".
A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music as well as "Torian and Andrew's Babblin'" was released on August 7, 2001 by Atlantic Records. The soundtrack failed to chart on the Billboard 200, but Trick Daddy's single "Take It to da House" managed to make it to number 88 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
- Once Upon a Time... Life, an animated series with similar anthropomorphic representations of cells and germs.
- Ozzy & Drix, an animated series that serves as a continuation of the film.
- Cells at Work!, a Japanese manga/anime series with a similar premise.
- Inner Workings, a Disney short film that is set in the human body.
- Inside Out, a Pixar computer-animated film that is set inside the human brain.
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- "Osmosis Jones (2001) - Box Office Mojo".
- "Osmosis Jones". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Osmosis Jones". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Osmosis Jones review". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
- Koehler, Robert (2001-08-02). "Osmosis Jones". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- "Movie Review - FILM REVIEW; Bill Murray as a Battlefield and Showing It - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com.
- 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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