SUB-GENRES: Comedy / Action / Fantasy
DIRECTED BY: Peter & Bobby Farrelly (live action); Piet Kroon & Tom Sito (animation)
WRITTEN BY: Marc Hyman
PEW PEW: At its core, Osmosis Jones is a buddy cop parody, so there is a decent amount of action.
CAT FOOD: Wash your damn hands before eating anything you wrestle from an ape…
This movie had been lingering in my periphery for quite a while, waiting for a time when I’d explored just about every concept-based animated film I could get my hands on and didn’t have anywhere else to turn. After seeing Pixar’s exceptional film Inside Out, I finally broke down and got Osmosis Jones.
While the film is mostly based inside the body of a complicated human being, the concept is far from the moving and oddly cerebral brilliance that Inside Out has to offer. The film is also a hybrid, featuring both live action and animated sequences, but, unlike magical pictures like Cool World and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, almost never at the same time.
The live action story centres around a self-centred widower named Frank, who clearly rarely puts any thought into what he’s putting into his body. After wrestling a chimp for an egg (seriously!) and eating said egg after it lands on the filthy ground, a dangerous germ named Thrax is introduced into his body.
The animated side of the film centres around the inside of Frank’s body, referred to there as the City of Frank. Osmosis Jones, a white blood cell who acts as a police officer, is charged with the investigation of the crisis that Thrax brings to his world. When he’s teamed up with a cold pill named Drix, the movie becomes a buddy cop film with a sizeable menace behind it.
Most of the time, the live action side of things, despite the great Bill Murray’s natural ability to entertain, seems quite forced and uninteresting. It’s little more than a framing device that proves to be more than a little disgusting at times. More regularly than you’d ever desire, in fact.
Conversely, the cartoon side of things almost passes for impressive. While it doesn’t quite muster up anything I’d mistake for intelligence, the film contains enough awful puns and gags that I’ll give it an A for effort. This side of the plot is infinitely more entertaining, however, and finds very interesting ways to apply real world function to cells, organs, and bodily functions. The villain, Thrax, is brought viciously to life by the brilliant voice work of Laurence Fishburne. My hat’s always off to William Shatner too, you know.
The animation itself is vivid and interesting, providing a pleasing visual experience when it’s not fucking disgusting as hell. Yeah, as gross as the live action stuff is, the animated portion of the film is twice as bad. It’s pretty filthy. Almost uncomfortably at times, I’d say.
It’s not an award winner by any means (except for this really cool villain), and it’s certainly not for the squeamish, but Osmosis Jones is an entertaining flick. I can’t help but think more could have been done with this concept, especially when you’ve got Bill Murray in the other side waiting to give a lesson on cause and effect, but the movie is sort of fun anyway.