Osmosis Jones

Osmosis Jones


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Osmosis (osmo'sis, oz-), n. the diffusion of a solvent through a semi-permeable membrane into a more concentrated solution.

According to the Farrelly brothers, it's a cheeky white cell, that talks like a black man, living in the body of a junk-fed slob. The only concentrated solution around here is the vomit that spews out of Frank's mouth and lands down the front of Mrs Boyd's dress. Mrs Boyd is Shane's teacher (more later).

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The concept for this movie is ambitious. It disappoints on two fronts. The directors, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, love vulgar so much they can't be anything else and the complexity of the human body is too wondrous for a bunch of animators to figure out.

Frank (Bill Murray) works at the zoo and eats like a pig. He lives with Shane (Elena Franklin), his nine-year-old daughter, who is so clean and spotless, you wonder who does the ironing. Inside Frank, there is a cartoon city, run by the mayor and controlled by cell police. As well as keeping order throughout the internal organs, fighting off germs and so on, they have a building programme. "We're beginning construction on a third chin," the mayor announces, proudly.

The heroes of the story are Osmosis Jones, a street smart defender cell, who doesn't take kindly to orders, and a cough lozenge, who behaves like Buzz Lightyear until Osmosis wises him up. When a deadly bacteria enters the cess pit that is Frank's digestive system, it's war.

There are two movies going on, the real world outside and the animated world inside. Murray is so gross, you lose sympathy for him within minutes. Shane's a darling, although teetering on the edge of the saccharine pit. Osmosis is the voice of Chris Rock, whacking one-liners off every polished surface. You don't really know what he is supposed to be doing, which is the other problem of the inner body cityscape scenario. The geography doesn't connect. You need subtitles to find out where you are.

The animation is in The Jetsons league. Apart from the lunch parking episode at the parent/teacher evening, the humour leads from behind, like when a worker cell in the bladder presses a button marked DON'T TOUCH and is blown away by a sudden gale. Outside, Frank farts.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2001
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Osmosis Jones packshot
Part animation/part live action story of junk food slob, played by Bill Murray, who contracts deadly virus.
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Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Marc Hyman

Starring: Bill Murray, Chris Elliott, Elena Franklin, voices of Chris Rock, Laurence Fishburne, David Hyde Pierce, Brandy Norwood, William Shatner

Year: 2001

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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