OSMOSIS JONES / (2001) ***1/2 (out of four)
By Blake French:
Consider the Farrelly brothers. The majority of a crowd would think of adjectives like shocking and envelope pushing, to describe them, but the most shocking thing about "Osmosis Jones," is the PG rating. Originally warranted a PG-13 rating, still a surprise from filmmakers whose credits include "There's Something About Mary" and "Me, Myself, and Irene," the film finally earned the family friendly PG rating after it was subjected to a re-rating. Peter and Bobby Farrelly are known for their crude, rude, and disgusting sense of humor. Breaking free of their traditional styles, their focus is now on something a little more entertaining than gross-out humor-imagination.
Directing a wildly amusing script by Marc Hyman, the Farrelly bothers are really on to something here. This is arguably their best film to date. Only "There's Something About Mary" stands up against "Osmosis Jones," a film that jumps between live action and cartoon animation. It calculates each moment with the perfect timing. This is not a movie just for this kids, although it's perfectly appropriate for everyone in the family. This is a feast for anyone's imagination. "Osmosis Jones" creates a world we seldom see in the movies-inside the human body.
"Osmosis Jones" is not an extremely funny movie. Only a handful of plentiful laughs occurs in the film. None of the gross-out humor works; the ideas are too jumbled within other ideas to payoff. "Osmosis Jones" does play with a lot of different humor types-from a clever "Titanic" joke that practically winks at the audience, to a laugh out loud performance by SNL veteran Molly Shannon. In "Superstar" Shannon proved to be a nuisance. However, in this film she is a very welcome screen presence.
Bill Murray needs to be in more movies these days. He still has the comic connection with the audience that carried "Scrooged," his best film, to my list of all time favorites. He stars as Frank Detorri, a lazy, slothful zoo worker who would get life behind bars if hygiene was a law. His wife passed away because of a sickness that their young, but healthy and intelligent, daughter (Elena Franklin) believes evolved from poor eating habits.
Frank eats something that contains a deadly virus, and it's up to his immune system to fight back. Osmosis Jones (voiced by Chris Rock) is one of those white blood cells who serves as a cop and must capture various villainous germs and viruses inside Frank. Although not a popular individual among the world of Frank, especially with the Mayor (voiced by William Shater), who is running for re-election very soon, he does have a crush on his assistant, Leah (voiced by Brandy Norwood). After the virus, named Thrax (voiced by Laurence Fishburne), accumulates villainous help and starts on a plan to kill Frank in a record time of forty eight hours, Osmosis must work with a cold pill named Drix (voiced by David Hyde Pierce), to stop this monstrously powerful germ before it's too late for Frank and his daughter.
The movie has some very clever material-various parts of the body represent neighborhoods in the City of Frank. For instance, the stomach is the airport with frequent departures to the colon. The Mafia relaxes in a steam room located in the armpit. Lawyers hang out in a hemorrhoid. When a zit pops up, it's seemingly the party room for the entire body, complete with a dance floor and strippers. Just simple content like that makes "Osmosis Jones" worth a watch. Even adults will enjoy the live action humor, as well as the film's zest, energy, and irony.
In a time when summer movies are at an all time low, "Osmosis Jones" is here to save they day. It's one of the most clever films of the year.