Slobbish zookeeper Frank Detorri (Bill Murray) lives alone with his daughter, who after the passing of her mother is a little more than concerned for her oafish fathers health. Which is a shame for her as he is a disgusting pig of a man with no interest in healthy living. After wrestling a monkey for his boiled egg and winning, he devours the contaminated egg and so begins our microscopic adventure.
We follow the eggs journey in gross close up, as the germs that have hitched a ride into Franks body, or the City of Frank, are chased down by street wise, white cell cop Osmosis Jones, voiced by Chris Rock. Apart from being an animated blood cell, he isn’t too far removed from many other cops from TV or film. He’s a rookie trying to make his mark, a bit of a maverick and a bit of klutz, causing as much mayhem as good in his attempt to save Frank from the sinister virus Thrax (Laurence Fishburne), who also entered Frank’s body on board the egg, and hatches a plot to destroy Murray whilst pretending to be nothing more than a common cold.
It’s a hilarious adventure, combining an enjoyable yet grim live action comic performance by Bill Murray, as directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly of Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin fame, with a stylish and sometimes dark and haunting animated adventure, as over looked by Disney animator Tom Sito and Pete Kroon. Their City Of Frank is a reinvention of the new York that we often see in film and TV, and full of the same characters who would occupy and run the big apple, only they occupy and run the failing, aging body of Bill Murray.
There are corrupt politicians, most notably the slacker mayor Phlegmming, played by Star Trek legend William Shatner. There are numerous low lives, including Brando Mafioso styled hoodlums who lurk in the armpit, and ex virus’s turned snitch, or more precisely flu vaccines. There are news reporters and emergency services, and average joe workers, all drawing hilarious and clever comparisons from our world to the internal world within us.
When in the real world, Murray takes a cold capsule, the cocky and wild Osmosis Jones is soon partnered with Drix, who is voiced by Frasier Cranes brother David Hyde Pierce. Here we are introduced to the usual buddy movie, where Jones is Riggs and Drix could just as easily be Murtough. Although they are of different methods of crime/virus enforcement, they soon team together to bring justice and restore health in the city.
The roles played by all are typical to how we usually see them presented in film or television, but culminating in an energetic and fine collaboration. Rock as Jones is not so dissimilar to Rock the stand up comedian, Bill Murray is his usual over acting clown, but still remains to be one of my favourite over actors of all time, Laurence Fishburne is as cool as ever as the smooth yet vicious villain, even the direction from the Farrelly Brothers is not a hundred miles from their signature gross out humour. You can expect to see some vile scenes of disgusting behaviour and gag provoking close ups, especially from the disgusting and sweaty Murray, involving such pleasant dysfunctions as zits, ingrown toe nails, vomit, usually as a result of some mishap caused by Jones on the inside, and usually in the presence of Murrays daughters school teacher. Farrelly regular Danny Murphy can also be seen as a callous zoo keeper superintendent.
There are also guest voice appearances from action producer Joel Silver and Happy Days actor turned film director Ron Howard and not forgetting Chris Elliot in yet another quality comedy role, his third with the Farrelly’s and his second with Murray after Harold Ramis’s Groundhog Day.
The movie is a brilliant piece of imaginative fun, with as much entertainment for the adults in the audience as the children, even more so than your usual Disney Pixar movie, I would say. Like most truly great movies, it went by mostly unnoticed, with minimal advertising at the time of its release, it flopped, and lost warners money, but that doesn’t mean that it is any way inferior to many other animation movies that have grossed mega money. If anything, its better than most. If you haven’t seen it already then may I strongly suggest you do. It may just be the most timeless comedy that the Farrelly’s have made.