Tuesday, June 4, 2019


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*

If the viewer can ignore the tedious live-action sequences, directed by the Farrelly Brothers and starring a slovenly Bill Murray and his winsomely cute daughter, then OSMOSIS JONES provides a decent formulaic action-comedy.

The idea of personifying parts of the human body goes back at least as far as Jonathan Swift's arguments between brain and stomach, but I don't recall that many attempts to use the trope in cartoons. In this case, the main cartoon characters are the personified inhabitants of Frank (Murray), a slob who constantly neglects his health. This creates a lot of work for all of the body-parts trying to maintain the body's integrity, not least a "police force" of white blood cells. The title character is the street-smart ("vein smart?") officer Osmosis Jones (Chris Rock), who gets no respect despite his devotion to his job. When a new disease strikes the body of Frank, Osmosis ends up getting teamed up with Drix, an anthropomorphic "cold pill" out to terminate the infection. Like most buddy-cop films, the principal heroes Osmosis and Drix don't get along, with the former being too laid-back and the latter too uptight. However, they end up learning that the Body of Frank has bigger problems than a head-cold: an invading virus, Thrax (Lawrence Fishburne) wants Frank dead, which means that all of the separate elements of Frank's body will die as well.

The buddy-cop stuff is routine at best, but the animation is lively, and Chris Rock's saucy rap works tolerably well against David Hyde Pierce's stuffiness. The feature cartoon flopped in the box office. However, it may have educated a few kids on the various functions of the human body-- at least, the ones that you could get in a PG movie-- and that gives it a little more cachet than most modern-day animated features.

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