Welcome to Anatomy 101. In this half-animated/half-live action comedy, directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly (There's Something About Mary) take the audience on a wild and somewhat disgusting ride through the human body.
Frank (Bill Murray) is a down-on-your-luck widower who doesn't believe the body is a temple. He eats badly, is hygienically challenged, and abstains from exercise. His one saving grace is his adorable daughter Shane (Elena Franklin), who tries everything to get her father to stay healthy. However, what goes on inside Frank's body is a whole other story. The ''City of Frank'' is a busy metropolis where one bumbling white blood cell, Osmosis Jones (voiced by Chris Rock), tries hard to keep the peace. Yet he runs up against Mayor Phlegmming (voiced by William Shatner) again and again, who feels ''a fat Frank is a happy Frank.'' When a lethal virus named Thrax (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) gets inside and threatens to kill Frank, Jones, along with the help of a cold tablet named Drix (voiced by David Hyde Pierce), must convince everyone that something really bad is about to happen.
The film uses an interesting blend of actors and vocal talents. Murray and Franklin are joined by Molly Shannon, who plays a teacher of Shane's and Chris Elliot as Frank's best buddy, with the group comprising the human portion of the movie. Murray is in top form, as usual, even if he has to look horrible and clammy throughout most of the film. Elliot and Shannon duly steal every scene they are in. Moving to the inside of Frank, Rock and Hyde Pierce sure sound like their having a ball, playing off each other's different styles very well. Shatner, too, is hilarious as the Mayor, taking on an unsympathetic role and milking it for all it's worth. But the one who stands out the most is the evil Thrax. Fishburne does some great inflections with his voice to embody the lethal virus. Even in animated form, Fishburne is someone to be reckoned with.
Leave it to the Farrelly brothers to once again gross us out. It isn't that far of a stretch for the directing duo to demonstrate what happens to a body when you don't take care of it. Throwing up, exploding zits, farting--it's all there, if you like that kind of thing. Yet the premise of the film--one plot revolving around real actors and the other around animated characters--is kind of unique in this summer's list of clichéd and tired movies. Murray's story about dealing with his wife's death and raising his daughter makes you sympathetic to the battle waging inside of him. And the story within Frank takes on the more detective quality as Jones races to get rid of Thrax. But if you are expecting dazzling animation, you may be disappointed. The creators have fun spoofing a thriving city within the human body, but the actual images are only so-so. We are getting spoiled anymore, aren't we?
Hardly thought-provoking, but Jones should appease fans of gross-out humor while amusing the kids. And remember: it pays to take care of yourself.