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 action comedy film with animation directed by Piet Kroon and Tom Sito 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 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 scenes, the voice cast (particularly Rock, Pierce and Fishburne), the plot and the portrayal of Osmosis Jones and Thrax, but criticizing the live-action portions and their 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 television series developed by writer Marc Hyman later ran on Kids' WB from 2002 to 2004, titled Ozzy & Drix, where the titular characters suddenly get removed and exiled by a mosquito that transfers them to the body of a teenage boy named Hector and continue their battle against germs and viruses from in it.
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 eating unhealthy and not exercising, to the annoyance of his young daughter Shane (Elena Franklin).
Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones (Chris Rock) is a rebellious officer of the Frank PD, who was demoted to patrol duty in the mouth after an incident where he induced Frank to vomit against orders, resulting in Frank being 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 science teacher, Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon).
Two years later, facing a serious challenge to his re-election prospects, Mayor Phlegmming (William Shatner) 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 (Laurence Fishburne), a deadly virus, to enter the throat. Unwilling to admit responsibility, Phlegmming instructs Frank to take a cold suppressant through brain signals. The suppressant, Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff (David Hyde Pierce), proceeds to disinfect the throat, covering up any evidence of Thrax's arrival. To his displeasure, Ozzy is subsequently assigned to assist 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 one of Ozzy's informants, who reveals Thrax's plan to pose as a mere cold virus as a cover for killing Frank with a high fever in order to become the next big virus in the medical records. Based on his information, Ozzy goes undercover at a nightclub intending to infiltrate Thrax's gang, only to be discovered and forced to call in Drix, who manages to destroy the club with a grenade. The explosion pops a zit on Frank's forehead during a meeting with Mrs. Boyd, ruining any chance for him to apologize. In response, Phlegmming closes the investigation, has Ozzy fired from the force, and orders Drix to leave the city.
Having survived the assault, Thrax eliminates his remaining henchmen and launches a one-man assault on the hypothalamus gland (the portion of the brain that controls body temperature), where he steals a DNA bead. He then abducts the Mayor's secretary, Leah Estrogen (Brandy Norwood), and flees to the mouth to escape. His actions disable the body's ability to regulate temperature, causing the city to break out in flames and panic. As Frank is taken to the hospital in a fever coma, Ozzy and Drix reconcile and proceed to rescue Leah. They succeed, but Thrax is able to exit the mouth using pollen as a distraction. Ozzy pursues him to the surface of Shane's eye, and as they fight they both land on one of Shane's false eyelashes. As Thrax has Jones pinned down after Jones recovers the DNA bead, he gloats over how he will break his record by killing Shane as his next victim, but gets stuck in the false eyelash; Jones escapes at the last minute before the eyelash slides off and lands in a vessel of rubbing alcohol, where Thrax dissolves.
As Frank's temperature goes over 108 degrees, his heart begins to shut down and flatline. Riding one of Shane's tears, Ozzy reenters his body with the bead in hand and replaces the missing chromosome, reviving Frank from his momentary state of death. Having narrowly cheated death, Frank commits himself to living a healthier lifestyle and Ozzy and Drix are declared heroes, with Ozzy having been reinstated to the force with Drix as his new partner, at which point Ozzy also begins a relationship with Leah. Frank and Shane go hiking, as he attempts to live a healthier life. Phlegmming, meanwhile, is impeached from office due to his actions having nearly killed Frank and the City of Frank with him, resulting in his opponent Tom Colonic winning the election by a landslide, and is reduced to a custodian in the bowels, and later ejects himself accidentally by triggering Frank's flatulence.
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 for "bodily humor".
The film had its world premiere on August 7, 2001 and then on August 10, 2001.
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. 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.
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".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 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". 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 88 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.