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Osmosis Jones (2001)

Hes one cell of a guy.

Directed by:

Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 95 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

Not since 1987’s ‘Inner Space’ has this much rollicking good fun and adventure taken place within the gooey, rumbly, smelly depths of the human body. Piss ferries, rivers of snot, exploding zits and projectile vomit might not seem like the ideal ingredients for an hour and a half of harmless fun, but they’re all just part of another day’s work for Osmosis Jones.

Set deep within the well-and-truly knackered body of zoo-working slob Frank (Bill Murray), this sharp-witted cartoon comedy shows us what happens when a particularly nasty virus (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) arrives on the scene to cause all sorts of unhealthy havoc. Frank doesn’t know it, but his only hope is Osmosis (Chris Rock), a quick-talkin’ white blood cell who smells a rat when everyone else in “Frank City” is too busy worrying about the upcoming Mayoral elections at Cerebellum Hall.

Teaming up with Drixenol (David Hyde Pierce), a temporary cold relief capsule who takes the form of a rapid-action super hero with definite shades of Buzz Lightyear, our hero does battle with germs a-plenty as he investigates the arrival of this most unwelcome untruder.

Sadly, this was a bit of a box office flop when it was released back in 2001, but I struggle to imagine any kid not loving its quick, upbeat and unquestionably clever line in gross-out humour. This is a world where a common sore throat becomes a crime scene, a gang of mobsters inhabit the left armpit in a marvellous Godfather send-up (“this is a private sweat gland!”), and, when Mayor Phlegmming (voiced by William Shatner) is asked what he intends to do about a fat cell housing shortage, he replies “I’d like to announce we’re beginning work on a third chin.” I could go on, but I wouldn’t like to spoil it for those of you who appreciate the vast comic opportunities of such an idea – most of which the film is easily smart enough to take advantage of.

It’s no surprise to discover that the live action bits featuring Murray are directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, the belly-laugh brothers who also of course brought us the likes of Stuck On You, There’s Something About Mary and Kingpin. But it’s the animated parts, almost as memorable for their eye-poppingly lurid colours as their cleverly-written jokes, which really steal the show. Sure, it plays a bit like a public health ad (the message behind it that we should all be taking better care of our bodies isn’t exactly subtle), but it’s the best, funniest and most inventive public health ad you’ll ever see.

It's Got: References to ‘The Godfather, ‘The Fugitive’, ‘The Matrix’, ‘Titanic’, ‘Ghostbusters’ and probably plenty of others that I was too slow to pick up on.

It Needs: A tissue for Mr Murray – quickly!

DVD Extras ‘Frank’s Gross Anatomy’ (which is basically a round-about way of giving us a needless extra scene selection facility), audio commentary, an HBO ‘First Look’ special, and a five minute behind-the-scenes featurette. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Inner Space, Toy Story, Toy Story 2

Summary

This fast, sharp, mucous-coated comedy is definitely entertainment that’s not to be sneezed at.

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