‘The Female Brain’ Uses Stereotypes to Reinforce Stereotypes

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

The Female Brain

You’d be hard pressed to find a cliché that just won’t die to the zombie saying “Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.” It’s as original as a Xerox copy. The difference in the sexes can be mined for insights into human nature and how beliefs about the genders are reinforced by societal traditions that people are unwilling to break free of. In the new comedy from comedian-turned-director Whitney Cummings, The Female Brain, Cummings and co-writer Neal Brennan (best known as the co-creator of Chappelle’s Show) try to use science to comically examine gender roles in the modern world. At first it seems that The Female Brain is going to use science and stereotypes to subvert the way we collectively perceive gender but then the film stops trying to subvert anything and winds up using stereotypes as a means to reinforce stereotypes while not really providing much humor along the way.

Dr. Julia Brizendine (Cummings) is a neurologist fascinated by the chemical differences in the brains of males and females. The Female Brain is framed as a number of side stories that revolve around Julia’s research, with her providing plenty of narration in the form of an academic presentation of her findings. When not focusing on Julia’s story, The Female Brain follows three couples as they struggle with their relationships thanks to the chemical differences in their brains. Zoe (Cecily Strong) is a woman working in advertising and living a fairly nice upper class life with her husband of one year Greg (Blake Griffin), a professional athlete. Steven (Deon Cole) and Lisa (Sofía Vergara) have lost the fire in their relationship after 12 years together. Finally there’s Adam (James Marsden) and Lexi (Lucy Punch), the two having been together for over three years but clash over Lexi’s desire to nitpick and control Adam’s freewheeling style.

The basic thrust of these three relationships is that everybody is fighting and dissatisfied in one way or another. So many of the details about these relationships don’t come across from actions that we’re witnessing but by the minutiae explained in cold, calculated scientific detail as part of Dr. Julia’s presentation. With only 90 minutes to tell the stories and science of three couples (and we haven’t even gotten into Dr. Julia’s story), The Female Brain struggles to tell complete stories about most of its characters, often relying on predictable outcomes and lengthy strings of flat jokes.

Consumed by her scientific endeavors, Julia has put her personal life entirely on the backburner, if not entirely abandoning the concept of compatibility. Once again, Cummings and Brennan’s screenplay takes the most obvious route. Would you be surprised to find out that Julia might have an interest in relationships once the hunky everyman Kevin (Toby Kebbell) volunteers for her study? I wasn’t. Suddenly, the cold academic who has shunned sexual relationships is now having her entire worldview confronted. The second Julia tells her assistant Abby (Beanie Feldstein) about her lack of interest in dating that her character arc becomes a forgone conclusion, and the film does nothing to surprise its audience.

It’d be easy to think that Cummings and Brennan are setting up their movie to rely on stereotypes to later use them to twist the audience into new and uncomfortable places. Then the movie continues and at a certain point you realize that the film isn’t actually out to subvert anything. Cummings is using gender-based stereotypes as the point of her movie, as her character states in the film’s cold conclusion. The thesis of The Female Brain is that biology has wired our brains differently and we should embrace that, and it’s not an entirely off base statement but the way it goes about it and the scarce laughs overly dependent on stereotypes leaves the conclusion wholly underwhelming. At a hair over 90 minutes, The Female Brain seems long and drawn out because it’s so predictable in so many regards and bitterly disappointing at the end because it really wastes a lot of time to not say very much.

The Female Brain really attempts in earnest to take on more than it can handle. Between the multiple character dynamics and the need to explain in detail the inner workings of the brain, Whitney Cummings struggles to find a rhythm between all its disparate parts. Because there’s just so much swirling around the film fails take full advantage of its robust and talented cast. It’s just not funny enough to make it possible to overlook the film’s shortcomings with its cardboard characters and predictable scenarios. If only everyone involved put a little more thought into The Female Brain.


Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
An Ax-Wielding Joan Crawford Headlines ‘Strait-Jacket’ on Blu-ray

As I mentioned in a previous piece on The Tingler, producer-director...

Jane Fonda in Five Acts Trailer
Love or Hate Her, A Controversial Icon Tells Her Story in the ‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts’ Trailer

From Hollywood royalty to American outcast, Jane Fonda has been in...

Outlaw King Trailer
Chris Pine is the ‘Outlaw King’ in the Trailer for Netflix’s Historical Epic

Netflix continues their push towards total dominance of the entertainment industry...

Event News Event Reviews
Transformers: The Movie Theatrical Debut
32 Years Ago Today, Was The Transformers: The Movie Theatrical Debut

On this day, 32 years ago, the world was graced with The...

Blizzard SDCC 2018
Blizzard SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment Brings Massive Lineup to SDCC

Blizzard in SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment brings Overwatch, StarCraft, and...

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018
Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR and Stern Pinball

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Exclusive Track Premiere from Madden NFL 19!

(July 26, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records today...

Star Ocean Anamnesis
The Most Intuitively Fun Gameplay of Any Mobile RPG – Star Ocean Anamnesis Review

Star Ocean Anamnesis is hands down the most fun and intuitive gameplay...

Ghostbusters World
Strap On Your Jumpsuits and Proton Packs – Ghostbusters World First Look

Ghostbusters World First Look at SDCC2018 – When someone asks you if...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Five Questions for Gary Morgenstein About ‘A Mound Over Hell’

Gary Morgenstein is a journalist, public relations expert and author with...

Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel
Dark Horse Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel Revealed

Dark Horse reveals new original Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic...

black torch
Black Torch – New Supernatural, Action Manga from Viz Media

VIZ Media releases a new, supernatural story with the release of...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Chuck Billy of Testament Talks About His Signature Vaporizer

Chuck Billy of Testament talks about, “The Chief” his signature vaporizer,...

anime pls
Anime Pls by Bioworld – Exclusive Interview

Bioworld Merchandising is a pop culture product expert. The company is considered...

heaven's feel
Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] THE MOVIE I. presage flower Blu-ray Release

TLDR Aniplex of America announced that box office hit, Fate/stay night ...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
WOW Announces New TV Taping Schedule

Women of Wrestling (WOW) will be hosting two nights of TV...

Catching up with Collegiate Take Down King Joe Gonzales at OCG

What can be said about Joe Gonzales? Well, everything really. Gonzales...

NJPW G1 Special from San Francisco Results

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) the King of Sports returns to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics #3

The defense against the dark arts temps start rolling in...

Fantoy Comics by Michael Colbert

Another slice of daily Hogwarts life as told with Funko Pops...

Fantoy Comics by Michael Colbert

A new comic strip focusing on the regular old days at...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

%d bloggers like this: