Osmosis Jones

2001, Movie, PG, 90 mins


A gross-out celebration of mucus, spit, piss, farts, pus and other bodily fluids and functions that will delight kids of a certain age. Middle-aged zoo keeper Frank (Bill Murray) is a health crisis waiting to happen — chubby and sedentary, he's not only willing to eat food that's fallen on the floor, he's willing — no, determined — to eat a peeled hard-boiled egg that's been in a chimpanzee's mouth. Daughter Shane (Elena Franklin) is horrified, but what's a middle-schooler to do? Frank ingests a lethal virus along with the icky egg, which is where Osmosis Jones and the FPD (Frank Police Department) come in. Inside Frank is a whole teeming city called, well, Frank, with its own pompous mayor (voice of William Shatner), sanitation workers, underworld and police force, consisting of white blood cells like Jones (voice of Chris Rock). A smart-mouthed hothead with a crush on the mayor's assistant (Brandy Norwood) and a black blot on his service record — he once induced Frank to projectile vomit on Shane's teacher, Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon), at the school science fair — Jones gets busted down to sore-throat patrol. Adding insult to injury, he's teamed up with a by-the-book, maximum strength cold capsule called Drix (voice of David Hyde Pierce). Drix and Jones discover the existence of the virus, Thrax (voice of Laurence Fishburne), who plans to ensure his place in medical history by killing Frank in 48 hours. Can they save Frank before the father-daughter hike Shane so desperately wants him to attend? Frank isn't much of a character — more a collection of repulsive habits and lamentable personal hygiene — so it's hard to care what's going on inside him. Fortunately, Franklin is a charming young actress (despite the fact that Shane appears to have been conceived as a model for turning pre-teens into sanctimonious nags); her childish devotion to her dad gives you some reason to care whether or not Thrax kills him. And while there's no denying that the film's animation is technically impressive and is sometimes quite clever, its inventiveness is frequently at the service of gags so distasteful that gag is the operative word. But that's an adult speaking, and despite a barrage of puns that will whiz over the heads of the average eight-year-old ("virus con dios," "Funny, he doesn't look fluish," and the like), this film wasn't intended for the enjoyment of adults. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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