Retro Review: Osmosis Jones

Ever wondered what goes on inside the body of a disgusting over 40-year old man who doesn’t take care of himself. Well in the new movie, “Osmosis Jones” we find out.

“Osmosis Jones” (Chris Rock) is a “white-blood cell” cop who is on the trail of Thrax (Lawrence Fishburne), a nasty virus who is bent on killing the body they inhabit. The actual body is named Frank (Bill Murray), a daft zookeeper and single dad. Along for the ride with Osmosis is a cold capsule named Drix (David Hyde Pierce) who was ingested because Frank believed he was getting a cold.

“Osmosis Jones” does a lot of cutting from the animation (which represents the inner body) and the real world (where Murray is). It’s very hard to describe and react to the kinds of filmmaking in that they are so vastly different. This can become really uncomfortable as we find that one part of the film is so much better than the latter.

But I found myself really liking what the animators had done with the world inside Frank. I loved “Drix” and the evil portrayal of “Thrax”. There are so many hidden jokes and puns within the animated world it was a lot of fun just trying to spot all of them.

The animation itself is basic television animation until the third act of the film. The majority of the animation reminded me a lot of the short-lived television series “Fish Police”. The characters eyes and movements had a lot in common with that show. In the third act, the animation gets really clever as Osmosis actually leaves Frank’s body and a battle transpires outside the body. This part was done exceptionally well. Actually the whole animated sequences are all written exceptionally well.

The worst part about the film is the mundane world that Frank lives in. It’s boring and so utterly predictable. The daughter is annoying and her dad is even more so. Was this supposed to be this way or was the film just trying to play up the animation angle. Regardless it was very hard to sit through.

I really think the film would have been more interesting if the world outside was standard television animation and the inner workings of the body would have been computer animation. This way you could have still had the difference in worlds and not been so alienated in the outside one. Just an idea, what would yours be?

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

Written: August 13, 2001

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