Osmosis Jones Review

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When slobbish zoo worker Frank eats an infected egg, it’s up to white blood cell Osmosis Jones, and cold relief tablet Drix, to save the city of Frank from destruction at the hands of evil virus, Thrax.


Remember the old Beano cartoon, The Numbskulls, about creatures controlling your body? Scary Orwellian implications aside, it was a great idea, and here it is, dusted off, and given a live action/animation make-over. Picture a David Cronenberg cartoon. With fart gags.

It’s a lot funnier than that sounds. Kids, with their propensity for giggling at anything bodily functions-related, will have a field day. Meanwhile, adults are catered for by an extremely sharp script, stuffed with beautiful touches Mafia-like melanoma cells; a bureaucratic mayor (William Shatner); and top one-liners (“We’ll go down to the haemorrhoids and get you a good lawyer”).

It’s billed as a Farrelly brothers movie, but Peter and Bobby’s influence extends purely to the disappointing live-action segments. There are gross-out moments galore, but it seems like the Farrellys haven’t got their hearts, or any other bodily organ, in it. Murray is suitably sleazy as the oafish Frank, but is as wasted here as he was in Charlie’s Angels.

Thankfully, the animated side of things is inspired. Directors Kroon and Sito revel in the sheer scale of their human playground, unleashing a barrage of visual gags, many of which will escape detection until additional viewings. Their larger-than-life, retro-styled animation is reminiscent of an episode of Duckman with higher production values.

Voice-wise, Rock is unusually restrained as the sassy Jones, and Fishburne is memorably nasty as Thrax. But it’s Hyde Pierce’s prim, priggish, deadpan Drix — a cross between Buzz Lightyear and Frasier’s Niles — who steals the show. Dr. Empire’s diagnosis? Go see Osmosis Jones. If sadness symptoms persist, see it again. It’s a great work of body.

Fantastic. From the wacked-out production design, to the genius throwaway gags and insane characters, this may not be a Simpsons movie, but it’s as near as dammit.