Live action directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly; animation directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon
Starring the voices of Chris Rock, David Hyde Pierce, Laurence Fishburne, Brandy, William Shatner, and, in the live action segments, Bill Murray, Chris Elliot, Molly Shannon and Elena Franklin.
This film will always have a special place in my heart. I submitted a trailer description to Corona’s Coming Attractions, and they ran it. This is the only movie where a movie news site ran my news on it! But that’s not the only reason why I was looking forward to it. I had been greatly impressed with Warner Brothers Animation’s last product, The Iron Giant, and was looking forward to see what they’d cook up next. The premise was intriguing, and I went into the theater with an open mind.
We meet up with Frank (Murray), and he’s a complete slob. He scratches himself, he doesn’t shave, and he eats whatever he can get his hands on. His daughter Shane (Franklin) tries to get him to change his ways and eat healthy, but she’s had little success. Then, one day, Frank eats a hard boiled egg that he fought a monkey for, and we’re taken to the animated world that’s inside Frank’s body. Inside, we meet up with a renegade cop/white blood cell, Osmosis Jones (Rock), who’s working the beat in the mouth. On that egg, Jones spies what appears to be a virus, and goes chasing it down. This, of course, ends in disaster, leading Frank to take a cold pill. Back on the inside, Jones finds himself saddled with Drix the cold pill (Pierce) as his new partner. They go chasing down the virus, but find it to be, not a cold, but Thrax (Fishburne), a deadly strain who’ll stop at nothing until he kills Frank. The Mayor of Frank, Mr. Phlemming, (Shatner) wants to avoid a body-wide panic, but his chief adviser Leah Estrogen (Brandy) wants to be more honest with the people/cells. Can Jones and Drix stop Thrax? Will Jones’ smooth talking win him Leah’s heart? Will this whole incident finally get Frank to clean up his act and start taking better care of himself?
This seems to be two movies, as we follow animated plots inside Frank, and live-action plots about Frank’s life. The live-action bits are only so-so, with the Farelly Brothers (who did Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary) giving us more of their trademark gross-out humor. The fun part of this film is truly the animated plots. Rock is hilarious as the white blood cell who comes across as the kind of cop that’s in all these cop movies. Fishburne is a wonderfully menacing villain, and Shatner himself is pretty good as the mayor. The animated bits were very imaginative, full of dazzling visuals, and fascinating ideas. It makes me wish that there were more animated segments. And, since all animators are geeks at heart, the animated bits are full of jokes/references to The Matrix, T2, and even Titanic. Oh, and that Ron Howard cameo was just very cool. Since this is turning into one of the bigger bombs of 2001, I suggest you go see it while you still can. It’s just cool.