Friday, February 16, 2018

Now there's scientific proof

With the Detroit Pistons recently acquiring NBA all-star Blake Griffin, that might be reason alone to see another side of the Slam Dunk Champion’s skills – comedy acting. Because Griffin happens to star in The Female Brain (opening today at the AMC Star Southfield 20), a satirical look at, yes, male-female relationships, but from an utterly different point of view. Don’t be put off by the early didactic tones of our neurological professor (the versatile director Whitney Cummings, co-creator of 2 Broke Girls), who explains that centuries of study provide scientific clues as to why women and men act the way they do. When one of those “ah ha” moments in the interactions of the three couples portrayed in the film rear its head (women are “neurotic”, “seek consensus” or lack “spatial orientation”, or he’s a “cave man”, controlling, etc.) the frame freezes and there’s an overlaid visual effect that accurately describes what the brain is responding to and brief scientific description of why she – or he – predictably acts the way they do, laughingly reduced to current slang. The film is based on the book by Louann Brizendine. The film's three couples are composed of characters you may know from TV and film including Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Beanie Feldstein (Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird) and Cecila Strong (SNL). Marlo Thomas also has a small role. And, of course, our NBA and Pistons champ, if he can only bring the team alive! They all have problems or issues and, yes, the female-male dynamic raises its head throughout, mostly in humorous ways. Griffin’s Greg must assert his domestic manliness as a bumbling do-it-yourselfer. Vergara’s Lisa can’t figure out why there’s not much emotional, let alone sexual, response, in her marriage. The film might be criticized for playing, ironically, on stereotypes, though the filmmakers would argue they’re all scientifically-based. But there are twists. James Marsden’s Adam hates the way GF Lexi (Lucy Punch) is trying to change him. And, delicious irony of all, Toby Kebbell’s Kevin wants to go slow with the straight-laced professor and part-narrator Julia (Cummings), a ball of scientific and feminist contradictions.

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