Film / Osmosis Jones
He's one cell of a guy, and his partner's a real pill.

"Every body needs a hero."

2001's Osmosis Jones is a Buddy Cop Movie featuring Chris Rock and David Hyde Pierce. The two are paired up to stop a nasty criminal (played by Laurence Fishburne) from destroying their beloved city, hindered by a self-centered mayor (William Shatner), whose assistant (R&B singer Brandy) is the main love interest.

Also, this all takes place inside a human body.

Osmosis Jones (Chris Rock) is a white blood cell cop who lost his reputation after a nasty incident that happened to ruin Frank (the human this movie takes place in, played by Bill Murray) out in the real world. Frank eats a contaminated egg that happened to carry a deadly virus by the name of Thrax (Laurence Fishburne), whose goal is to kill Frank within 48 hours.

After Thrax starts doing some damage, Osmosis is paired up with a cold pill named Drix (David Hyde Pierce). The two clash frequently, as most new cop partners do in movies, until Drix sees Thrax himself, and takes Ozzy's side.

Meanwhile, while all this is happening in the animated world of the City of Frank, we get a few peeks at what Frank is going through, in the live-action sequences of the movie, trying to care for his health-conscious daughter Shane.

This movie spawned a spinoff cartoon called Ozzy and Drix.

One of the two animation directors was Tom Sito, a lead animator on that other, more successful live action/animation hybrid film.


  • 108: As mentioned on the trope page, a body temperature this high usually kills. Note the attention paid to it in the climax, as Frank toes the line and cheats death.
  • Aesop Amnesia: The spin-off cartoon's first episode shows that whatever Frank learned about health didn't take, and his life seems to have spun out of control. For the brief time we see him, he's eating chicken in a trailer park. A more friendly interpretation would be that the cartoon is set in an Alternate Continuity, where the film's plot didn't happen; note that Shane isn't present.
  • An Aesop: Watch your health, at least for the sake of your loved ones.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Well, while Frank's death wouldn't even make a dent in our society, for the cells that live in Frank it'd be a Class 6. And there's your Fridge Horror for the day.
    • Thrax has done this at least three times before, which in terms of casualties is the equivalent of burning an entire world to the ground three thousand times over.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mayor Phlegmming lists three ways Jones had pissed him off before firing him in his What the Hell, Hero? speech.
    Mayor Phlegmming: "Disregarding orders, destruction of public flesh, popping a pimple without a permit!"
  • Art Major Biology: All anthropomorphization aside, anyone who's passed high school biology knows that viruses don't work even remotely like they're depicted in the film. Though they can be harmful to the organisms that they infest, they aren't biologically programmed to just cause their host as much harm as possible. They infest a host's cells so that they can reproduce by multiplying and spreading throughout its body—any harmful symptoms are simply side-effects of this, and killing the host would simply kill the virus in the process. This means, if Thrax actually behaved like a virus, he would have spent the movie making an army of Thrax-clones or pulling Grand Theft Me on other cells à la Invasion of the Body Snatchers, not trying to kill Frank by stealing his hypothalamus. It's purely a matter of anthropomorphization after all, so of course the virus has a personality that reminds of humans.
  • Asshole Victim: The previous unnamed Big Bad whom Thrax made short work (and short pieces) of. Also all his germ minions.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Thrax goes after the Hypothalamus, causing his poor victim to undergo a life-threatening fever. At cellular level, this is represented as the city burning down.
  • Badass Longcoat: Thrax. It's also practical: he can spread it to act as wings or a parachute.
  • Becoming Part of the Image: A car crashes on a billboard for "the Land Down Under" (Frank's butt), the car wedged right in the crack.
  • Big Bad: Thrax.
  • Big Red Button: The incident that ruined Ozzy's reputation? Causing Frank to forcefully vomit on a teacher. How did Ozzy do this? By hitting the large, glowing button in The Stomach labeled (of course) "VOMIT".
  • Bizarrchitecture: Frank's subconscious definitely counts.
  • Black Bug Room: Thrax accidentally stumbles into Frank's towards the climax, which freaks him out.
    Thrax: (Stunned) This cat was sick before I even got here.
  • Brain with a Manual Control: Mayor Phlegmming uses the manual override on Frank's speech control to instruct Frank to say that he'll take a cold pill for his initial symptoms, rather than seeing a physician as he'd intended. This introduces special agent Drix to Frank's body, where he teams up with the titular white blood cell.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Drix.
  • The Cameo: Pikachu makes an appearance at the bladder. No, Pikachu was NOT photoshopped there.
  • Cassandra Truth: Osmosis is the only one who knows about Thrax's plans.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Thrax is destroying the saliva boat, he's humming "Fever" , which gives you his method of killing making this a classic use of this trope .
    • There's also Frank's allergy to pollen pods. Thrax uses it to escape Frank's body.
    • The false eyelash that Shane's friend gives her. In the climax, Ozzy and Thrax duke it out on top of it. Thrax doesn't realize that it's fake until he gets his hand stuck in it...just before it falls off of Shane's eye into a beaker of alcohol. Cue dramatic death scene.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ozzy's ability to change shape comes in very handy in the climax.
  • Conspicuous CG: Drix, the cars, and most of the high-up shots of Frank City.
    • Especially when Drix tries to distort himself like Ozzy (before they sneak into The Zit) and his crushed-up head is temporarily animated in 2D.
  • Cool Car: Thrax's car.
  • Covers Always Lie: Due to contract issues, the Farrelly Brothers (of Dumb and Dumber fame) are listed as primary directors. They only did the live-action footage, and didn't have any input on the animation and script.
  • Cowboy Cop: Osmosis.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Also counts as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
    Osmosis: "What you talkin' 'bout? I'm a legend, girl! Chicks line up to divide with me!"
    Leah: "Oh really? Because to me, you look like the kind of cell who mostly divides with himself."
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Averted. We don't hear much about her, but Shane's mother was apparently even worse to her body than Frank is, and presumably died for it.
  • Disney Death: There are actually 3 of these in this movie. First, in a rare instance where a villain suffers a Disney Death, but is Killed Off for Real later on, after Osmosis Jones and Thrax blew up The Zit, they thought Thrax was dead, but when Osmosis goes to the movie theater, he finds out Thrax is alive. Second, Frank's near-death caused by a high fever. And finally, after Ozzy travels back to Frank in a tear drop, he appears to be dead, but wakes up.
  • Disney Villain Death: Thrax falls to his death into a beaker of alcohol. Although we see the death. And it is horrifying.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mrs. Boyd gets a little embarrassed due to Frank throwing up on her after eating some bad oysters (which was revealed to be Ozzy flushing a virus out of his system) and places a restraining order against him for it. Sheesh, lady, that puke was caused by bad oysters made by one of your students! Frank hadn't even been drinking. The same also applies to the magistrate who thought that the situation warranted issuing a restraining order against Frank.
    • Also, she starts screaming at him and refuses to remove said order when his zit pops on her. Yes, it's disgusting, but he didn't do it on purpose.
    • And because he vomited on a woman, he gets fired from his job?! The Frank?! It's the kind of thing you could claim damages for.
  • Double Entendre: "This cat was sick before I even got here!"
  • Evil Laugh: Thrax pulls this off in a way that makes him seem demented or schizophrenic. Don't misunderstand—it's still really creepy.
  • Evil Is Petty: Only partially with Thrax. He wants to kill Frank in a record time so he can be in medical textbooks.
  • Expy: Drix bears a strong resemblance to Iron Man.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death and Family-Unfriendly Violence: Used rather disturbingly for a PG movie—cells exploding into red lava goo and the villain turning sickly green and becoming hideously warped in a beaker of alcohol, although the latter happened to a being of pure evil...
  • Fan Disservice: That picture of the chief's disgustingly obese wife in a bikini, which can be seen during the scene when Ozzy is first seen talking his boss. The shot lingers long enough to make sure you've seen it and absorbed its grandeur.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: They're already permanently inside the body.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Thrax. At least at first. As the film progresses, he slips more and more frequently into a bloodthirsty, manic persona until he hits a full-on Villainous Breakdown.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The backgrounds offer plenty of sight gags, such as signs reading "Rectum - Exit Only", "Slow - Sore Throat", "Ulcer Repair", and "Danger - Open Nerve".
  • Funny X Ray: Ozzy goes through an X-ray machine while entering the stomach to meet Drix. The X-ray shows his gun, and he gets a pass by showing his badge. The guy behind him, however, is a tough looking sailor who is revealed to be wearing women's underwear.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Here's one example:
    Osmosis: What the heck is an uvula?!
    Drix: It's that little dangly thing that hangs down in Frank's—
    Osmosis Jones: Boxer shorts! Okay, here we go!
    Drix: Not that little dangly thing! The one in his throat!
    Osmosis: I knew that. I knew that!
    Kidney Rock: Young ladies, young ladies
    Kidney Rock: Some say that's statutory
  • Green Around the Gills: Ozzy has a germ drinking phlegm for a beverage in the club. In addition to this trope, this causes his head to twist and stretch as well.
  • Homage
    • Thrax's death is extremely reminiscent of T-1000's bath in molten metal. Also, the part where Jones reassembles himself after getting split in two looks a lot like the part in Terminator 2: Judgment Day where the T-1000 pulls its head back together after getting blasted point blank by a shotgun.
    • The fight on Shane's eye, and Thrax's design are shout outs to The Matrix. (Not to mention the fact that Thrax is voiced by Laurence Fishburne)
    • "Gentlemen, it's been a pleasure playing with you this evening." Including the fact that this line is followed by the band playing "Nearer My God To Thee."
    • The Godfather scene in the armpit.
    • "El Muerte Roja" or "The Red Death" possibly refers to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of The Red Death", also, both diseases are written in without much identity other than that they kill in awful ways.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The dialogue is full of those ("When you grow up on the wrong side of the digestive track, you ain't got no money for no fancy schools."). And even the DVD menu does this when an option isn't highlighted. "Play movie" becomes "Bowel Movie", "Choose A Foul Scene" (Scene Selection based on body part) becomes "Frank's Gross Anatomy", "Scene Selections" becomes, "Spleen Cellections", "Special Features" becomes, "Smelly Feetures", and "Languages" becomes "Lunguages".
  • An Ice Person: Drix's painkilling abilities are represented this way. Inevitably, this leads to the line "You just iced my witness!"
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Shane's tear with Ozzy in it precision strikes the hole in the uvula.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Thrax not only plans to kill Shane, but reminisces about killing a "little girl" who "didn't like to wash her hands."
  • The Informant: The flu shot.
    That's funny. He doesn't look fluish.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Kidney Rock.
  • Jerkass: Mayor Phlemming. It's largely thanks to him that Frank's health and family relationships are in such a wreck.
  • Kill It with Fire: Thrax's way of dealing with people.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After his actions nearly got Frank killed, Mayor Phlegming is impeached and thrown out of office, stuck working as a lowly worker down in Frank's bowels. And then he presses the button that causes Frank to fart...
  • Left Stuck After Attack: This is how Thrax meets his end, having his Finger Poke of Doom stuck in false eyelash that falls into vial of alcohol.
  • Logo Joke: The Warner Bros. logo appears as a one-celled organism floating in a dark background.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The movie and animated series presents the immune system's struggle to keep the body alive as this, since the body's cells are constantly fighting against viruses, bacteria, and other beings that can corrupt and ruin the very world (aka the body) around them.
  • Mayor Pain: Phlemming.
  • Meaningful Echo - You want Osmosis? You got Osmosis!
  • Medium Blending - The entire concept behind this movie. Live action humans and cartoon insides a la Fantastic Voyage.
  • Missing Mom: Shane's mom, Frank's wife, is dead by the time the movie begins, and from what Shane says she had similar habits to Frank and died because she didn't change.
  • Mood Whiplash: The briefing scene at the Zit is rather disorienting, swinging from Thrax's ominous plan and rant to Ozzy's ridiculous attempts to trick information from him.
  • Most Writers Are Human
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mayor Phlemming when he sees the City of Frank getting burned up.
  • Near Villain Victory: Boy, is it ever.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: During the final fight, Thrax tries to use his chain, which holds Frank's as well as his previous victims' hypothalamus chromosome, to strangle Ozzy with. However Shane winds up blinking (they're fighting on her eye) separating the two with the chain still around Ozzy's neck. After Thrax's last attack fails, Ozzy manages to escape with the chain while Thrax falls into a bottle of alcohol. Also counts as a Hoist by His Own Petard, as had Thrax merely killed Ozzy using his acidic claw, he would have won handily.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Leah, along with pretty much every other female cell in the movie.
    • This is a subversion as they are human cells and humans are, biologically speaking, mammals.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mayor Phlemming. Who only cares about his upcoming election and nearly inadvertently kills Frank with his negligence.
  • Odd Name Out: Osmosis Jones', being a normal last name and a human-body-themed first name instead of other cells' like "Tom Colonic" and "Leah Estrogen". "Drixobenzo Methapherdramine" also counts as one.
  • Oh, Crap!: Thrax's reaction when Drix's massive grenade gets uncapped.
  • Oh My Gods!: Cells use "Frank" either as their term for "God" or as an expletive.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • Thrax, on a cellular scale. His stated goal is to kill Frank in two days, faster than any other virus has ever killed, and give himself a whole new chapter in the medical books.
  • Our Founder:
    • A sperm cell, naturally.
    • Also doubles as Parental Bonus, since many children will not see the statue in the shot, much less recognize it for what it is.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Drix disguises himself to get into the Zit... by wearing a frozen germ on his head. And it works.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel‎: Drix rebels on his function of being a temporary relief by throwing away his description after Ozzy convinces him to stay for his confrontation with Thrax.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Thrax rattles off a few of his previous victims and how long it took to kill them to his cohorts, including a very disturbed undercover Osmosis.
  • Reverse Mole - The Flu Shot who hangs out with germs while providing info to Frank's Finest.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect - Surprisingly averted. For most of the movie the two worlds have no direct interaction. There are a couple moments, such as Frank's subconscious, and the fight on the fake eyelash, although that uses rather poor CGI rather than live action.
  • Scary Black Man: Thrax. What else can you expect from Larry Fishburne?
  • Seeker White Blood Cells: The film anthropomorphisizes the entire human body, giving all the various cells and such names and allowing them to speak and develop friendships with other cells. The white blood cells are treated like the police, so they get a lot of chase scenes with equally anthropomorphic pathogens.
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: Osmosis Jones.
  • Shout-Out: When Drix and Ozzy return to the police station from blowing up The Zit, Ozzy accidentally calls Leah "Brandy," which is the name of her voice actor (Chris Rock unintentionally ad-libbed that line and the filmmakers decided to put it in).
    • It might have only been intended to be Nausea Fuel, but Jones' and Drix's first conversation is very similar to the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, at least for Jones' part of it.
    • Thrax being knocked into cleaning alcohol is a recreation of the T-1000's death in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
    • Also one to the Ohio Players. When Thrax and his Mooks are gloating over the newspaper article about the heroes stopping the cold. When asked about the possibility of the protagonists intervening, Thrax responds: "Fire".
  • Shown Their Work: The portrayal of anatomy is pretty impressive for a movie where everything in the body is anthropomorphic, such as Osmosis mentioning his parents coming over on the umbilical cord. Also, the creators worked with a professional martial artist to make Thrax's fighting more accurate.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Thrax at points; and though probably unintentional Ozzy does it at times.
    • Drix dons one when they are trying to intimidate the flu shot
  • Spock Speak: Subverted—in a flashback, Frank speaks to a kid at a science fair who talks in this manner about his project to leach the toxins out of polluted oysters. Certain that the kid's a genius and the project worked, Frank picks one out of the container and eats it raw. Then finds out the kid is actually of very low intelligence and the oysters are still polluted. (This, incidentally, is what led to Jones's disgrace—he saw a dangerous-looking germ on the oysters in the stomach before anyone else and pressed an emergency "vomit" button at exactly the wrong time, plus he did it so quickly that no-one else saw the germ.)
  • Spoiler: Invoked.
    Osmosis: (seeing Thrax in Frank's subconscious in a movie theater) Thrax is alive! Thrax is alive and in Frank's brain!
    Makeout teen: Thanks for spoiling the ending!
  • Stealth Pun: After Thrax first appears, he saunters along the boat while humming the melody from "Fever".
  • Stock Sound Effects: Apparently, cells use proton packs to clean out the germs during digestion.
  • Swiss Army Tears: Justified—after defeating Thrax, Osmosis jumps into one of Shane's tears that falls into Frank's mouth to return the hypothalamus chain. It probably appeared this way to the doctors, though.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Mayor Phleming fires Ozzie from the police force after blowing up The Zit, using his poor record and breaking of regulations as a smokescreen to cover up the existence of Thrax's infection, and orders Drix to leave Frank's body. Fortunately, both of them come around when Thrax makes Frank's body go to hell in a handbag, and they end up getting their jobs back.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Frank. Sorry Shane, but it's true. Eating raw, polluted oysters. Eating the egg dropped in a filthy monkey cage, where not even the ten second or even the ONE second rule should apply; especially since THE EGG HAD ALSO BEEN IN THE MONKEY'S MOUTH. All his knowledge goes to promoting his laziness or retaining sports statistics.
    • Well, considering that Mayor Phlemming has been running his brain...
  • Torso with a View: Self-invoked by Osmosis to avoid succumbing to the trope below.
  • Touch of Death: One of Thrax's primary weapons. Everything he even so much as pricks with his long claw seems to burn up.
  • Unflinching Walk: Thrax pulls one off particularly well.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Due to the previously mentioned sanitizing, as the movie became a light-hearted comedy, Thrax didn't change much, resulting in a disproportionately dark villain. It gives an odd feeling of Mood Whiplash when he is placed up against the goofy protagonists.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Thrax has a subtle one during the final confrontation on Shane's eye. His normally slick dreadlocks fall out of place, his voice gets rougher, and his Evil Laugh gets a lot creepier.
    • Another slight one happens when Thrax enters the subconscious and sees all Frank's repressed memories. He stumbles around in confusion, visibly unnerved, before running out in a panic.
    Thrax: This cat was sick before I even got here.
  • Visual Pun: All the signs and graffiti throughout the movie contain these.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Most cells have a limited variant of this—for instance, when Osmosis wants to fit in with a looser crowd, he makes himself one-eyed. Drix cannot do this, so he winds up using a small frozen cell as a Nice Hat.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Though the actual scene isn't shown, it's shown on the front page of the paper in all its disgusting glory.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mayor Phlegmming is not at all pleased with Jones' actions at the zit club.
  • Witty Banter: Provided by two cells who act as newscasters.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: Somehow an ill man who ate a bad oyster and throws up on a teacher becomes a huge story, so huge that Frank lost his job and the teacher's daughter had to transfer schools.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Apparently, one of Thrax's victims was a little girl that didn't enjoy washing her hands. Also, after infecting Frank with a deadly fever, he mentions to Osmosis Jones that he's going to break his current record by killing Shane even faster.
  • Yet Another Baby Panda: Parodied with panda animal crackers.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • No killing here, but the Mayor said that Drix is only temporary.
    Mayor Phlegming: Son, do me a favor and read what it says on your arm.
    Drix: 'For the temporary relief of symptoms associated with... '
    • Thrax burns his thugs alive once they become a hindrance (they suggest that they incubate, which would mean Thrax wouldn't be able to break his record).
    Thrax: Medical books aren't written about losers!