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Osmosis Jones (PG)
Warner Brothers
Official Site
Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Piet Kroon
Producers: Bradley Thomas, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Zak Penn, Dennis Edwards
Written by: Marc Hyman
Cast: Bill Murray, Chris Rock, David Hyde Pierce, Laurence Fishburne, Chris Elliott, Ron Howard, Brandy Norwood, Molly Shannon

Rating: out of 5

As you sit reading this, the white blood cells and other inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis that is your body are hard at work, ensuring you stay in (relatively) good condition. Well, at least that is what the Farrelly brothers would like us to think with their animated adventure OSMOSIS JONES. The hybrid live-action/animated movie captures the bodily functions of coronary disease poster child Frank Pepperidge (Murray) as he fights against imminent death.

Frank, having recently lost his wife, is attempting to navigate the tough terrain of single fatherhood with daughter Shane. He continually shows up his daughter with his gross antics and inability to participate in school-related activities. This is partly due to a vomiting incident which left Shane’s teacher (Shannon) with an exorbitant dry cleaning bill and reason to request a restraining order.

After eating a rotten egg, Frank is infiltrated by an evil virus named Thrax (voiced by Fishburne). A renegade cop from the white blood cell police force named Osmosis Jones (Rock) is assigned to the sickly matter. After shaming himself in the traditional LETHAL WEAPON, ostracized cop-on-the-edge manner, Osmosis is determined to prove his worth to the force. He is joined by an idealistic cold pill named Drix (Hyde Pierce) who fights off some of the symptoms but cannot withstand the great power of the virus coupled with Frank’s less than healthy body.

The movie really capitalizes on the vocal talents on Rock, Hyde Pierce and Fishburne. Each brings a unique and powerful sound to the character, making them seem almost three-dimensional. Rock’s wonderful inflections coupled with Fishburne’s deep brooding tones make for engaging scenes. Unfortunately the script undermines the quality of such performances. The plot barely drags along and is about as appealing as an infectious disease.

So where’s that trademarked Farrelly Brothers humor, I hear you cry? Well don’t worry; although a little tamer than their R-rated efforts, OSMOSIS JONES is full of the gross-out antics many have come to enjoy. With this movie, the Farrellys have devised the perfect premise to throw out any and all bodily function-related jokes. It is the kind of humor that eight-year old boys may hold in high regard, but which prompts gag reflexes and eyeball rolling from others.

Surprisingly enough, the movie provides a valuable lesson in biology for youngsters. Frank’s condition makes Dick Cheney’s health problems look like common colds and emphasizes the importance of staying fit, eating healthy foods and taking occasional baths. OSMOSIS JONES also has moments of extremely clever dialogue, and the notion of a parallel universe existing inside the human body is exciting and played out in a visually stunning fashion. Where the movie falters is the overall quality of the script and the development of the characters.

—Priti Ubhayakar

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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