Osmosis Jones Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
When the disgustingly dirty Frank (Bill Murray) eats a much-anticipated hard-boiled egg even though it had fallen on the ground, he is unaware of his potentially fatal mistake. Jumping to duty (as well as animation), an under-respected white blood cell called Osmosis Jones (voiced by Chris Rock) plies his overzealous policing skills to round up hordes of ingested bacteria, but inadvertently allows a lethal virus to penetrate Frank’s defense system.
Consequently, the street-wise Jones is assigned to partner with Drix (David Hyde Pierce) an over-the-counter cold pill that Frank takes to remedy what feels like a sore throat, and track down the grim reaper Thrax (Laurence Fishburne) who is using his sickle-sized glowing fingernail to slash apart any opposition to his hidden agenda—to kill his host.
The premise of personifying the inner workings of the human immune system may have some hoping this live-action/animation film will be educational as well as entertaining. Such expectations will be met with disappointment. Without a basic working knowledge of the body and, in particular, the function of white blood cells, the story will appear as little more than a Saturday morning crime-fighting cartoon. Young viewers are unlikely to appreciate the witty comparisons of “Frank” to a huge metropolis, the stomach to a new arrivals airport, the brain to the seat of government, or the bladder to a departure bus depot. Even I was lost trying to identify the highly caricatured figures—it took me a while to figure out that the frightened Spanish-speaking green thing was a germ. However, the bad-city depictions found in the Kidney Rocks nightclub or the armpit steam room mafia hangout, translate very well.
Although most of the violence portrayed occurs in the animated sequences, parents may also be concerned with the live-action gross depictions of runny noses, bursting pimples, vomiting, or the more serious example of a main character driving immediately after consuming a can of beer. An attempt to express the importance of proper health habits and hygiene is evident, but children may not be immune to the bad attitudes and bodily humor presented in either of the two worlds.Starring Bill Murray Chris Rock William Shatner. Running time: 96 minutes. Theatrical release December 31, 1969. Updated April 29, 2020
Rating & Content Info
Why is Osmosis Jones rated PG? Osmosis Jones is rated PG by the MPAA for bodily humor. (Previously rated PG-13 in 2000).
After a lethal virus enters Frank’s body, a maverick white blood cell cop and a dutiful cold pill set out to save their host. Presenting a metropolis like setting, the messages of proper health habits and an understanding of the biological workings of the human immune system in this live-action/animated mix is lost amid its over-population of violence, bad attitudes, and body humor.
Live action: man wrestles with monkey, man stumbles up steps, man opens mouth displaying half chewed food, man has green mucous hanging from nose, man vomits, dirty and infected foot shown, teacher bangs on classroom door and hollers at students, puss explodes from pimple, sick and possibly intoxicated man weaves his car across road. Animated action: character shoots gun at other characters, character jumps from helicopter, bacteria characters are chased, cars crash and go off edge of overpass, destruction of property, two saliva characters are killed, monster type figure has sickle-like glowing finger that kills whatever it touches, boat catches on fire, unauthorized use of authority figure’s privileges, angry boss yells at employee, character has fire hose-like arm that freezes anything he shoots, character threatens to bury another in a blackhead, Mafia-like characters agree to help the bad guy after slashing their boss to death (the boss’s mouth still talks while floating on his oozing body parts), characters man guns that shoot at pollen entering the nose, two immune system characters are destroyed, politician kisses child character in wheelchair then recklessly pushes him away, character threatened, characters engage in gambling, sleazy character threatened into giving information, gangster characters plot murder, gangsters attack character with murderous intent, building explodes in flames, character hangs from elevator, two hypothalamus guardian characters killed (the body of one is slumped over desk), character takes hostage then jumps out window, high speed car chase shows cars knocked off road and exploding, characters sneezed out of body, hand to hand combat between characters, one character attempts to choke another, character makes murderous threat, drowning character turns into skeleton and sizzles as flames appear, two characters engage in fist fight and are later shown with bandages and missing teeth, characters fall from burning buildings, city shown in general mayhem.
Sexual Content: B-
Live action: Both a monkey and a man are shown scratching their backside, man shown in underwear in school setting, shirtless man shown. Animated action: character looks at centerfold picture of DNA, car impacts billboard displaying picture of bare bum, many female characters depicted as sexy and in short skirts, female character adjusts short skirt, fat female figure is shown in bikini, sexual banter between two characters, character from the wrong side of the digestive track says he “lived on the crack of the lower east backside,” multi-breasted female character dressed in bikini dances in nightclub setting, close-up of another bikini-clad female character, pin-up picture of bikini-clad female figure, couple kiss in theater, mild joke about private body parts and flatulence, female hostage tells captor to watch his hands, male and female characters kiss twice.
Expletive wordplays on many phrases that sound similar to profanities (e.g., cold pill is called a cheesy as-prin). Many jokes about body parts and functions used to create humor, frequent name-calling. Live action zoo workers shoveling dung are teased. At least four terms of Deity used as expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: C-
Live action character takes cold pill for his sore throat, which is then depicted in the animated sequences as an action hero fighting germs in the body. Live action: man mentions visit to liquor store and cigarette warehouse, man shown smoking cigar on two occasions, man talks of spending weekend in front of TV with keg, man brings six-pack of beer to friend’s house, man drinks whole can of beer with friend’s encouragement then drives car. Animated action: depiction of bar setting where main character and many background characters shown drinking, character shown hugging bottle.
Page last updated April 29, 2020
Osmosis Jones Parents' Guide
The soundtrack for Osmosis Jones includes many rap numbers and some questionable lyrics. For a look at the work of one of the featured artists, check Jim’s review of Talk about the movie with your family…
In this movie, Frank’s daughter Shane (played by Elena Franklin) is constantly preaching better health practices to her exercise-avoiding, fried-chicken-eating father. This “kid’s know best” portrayal is not uncommon in movies aimed at children. Can you think of any other examples? Why do you think this attitude is so prevalent in this genre?
Do you find there is a difference in the way you accept content if it is portrayed in animation or live action format? For instance, does watching an animated character hanging from the bottom of an elevator worry you as much as it might if it were a live actor? If it doesn’t, why do you think this is so?
The most recent home video release of Osmosis Jones movie is November 13, 2001. Here are some details…
DVD Release Information:
- Aspect ratio: Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1
- DVD encoding: Region 1
- Available audio tracks: English & French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround).
- Available subtitles: English, French.
- Commentary by Directors, Producer, and Writer
- Theatrical trailers
- Behind the scenes - documentary & voice sessions
- Deleted scenes
- Hidden features
- Frank’s Gross Anatomy
Related home video titles:
The soundtrack for Osmosis Jones includes many rap numbers and some questionable lyrics. For a look at the work of one of the featured artists, check Jim’s review of Kid Rock.
For another story that plays with the miniature workings of parallel universes, see our review of The Borrowers.