Isn’t it funny how women are often regarded as being mysterious, unpredictable creatures? Their perceived tendency to engage with their emotions more freely than men – in general terms – is regularly cited as evidence of their strange ‘otherness.’ But, as with all things, this is only because science has been so busy studying male biology, that female biology is less understood. This is the status quo that gave rise to the publication of the book The Female Brain, by neuro-psychiatrist Louann Brizendine M.D, and subsequently, its cinematic adaptation by Whitney Cummings.
Cummings makes her directorial debut here, having adapted the book with Neal Brennan (Chapelle’s Show) – and she appears in the film alongside the already cast Sofia Vergara, Cecily Strong, Blake Griffin, Beanie Feldstein, Chris D’Elia, Xosha Roquemore and Dean Cole. Filming is already underway, but James Marsden, Lucy Punch and Toby Kebbell have now been added to the cast in unspecified roles.
Published in 2006, the book postulates that hormonal differences between women and men are the primary cause of contrasting behaviours between genders – as the synopsis explains.
“Why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men can’t remember at all? Why do women tend to form deeper bonds with their female friends than men do with their male counterparts? These and other questions have stumped both sexes throughout the ages.
“Now, pioneering neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, M.D., brings together the latest findings to show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and who they love. While doing research as a medical student at Yale and then as a resident and faculty member at Harvard, Louann Brizendine discovered that almost all of the clinical data in existence on neurology, psychology, and neurobiology focused exclusively on males. In response to the overwhelming need for information on the female mind, Brizendine established the first clinic in the country to study and treat women’s brain function.”
The book received mixed reviews when it was released, sparking controversy for some – including several feminist writers and academics, who took issue with specific scientific inaccuracies contained in the text. Brizendine stood by her work, however, while issuing the caveat that her findings did not constitute the entirety of factors effecting behaviour.
With this adaptation coming from comedic filmmakers, we can expect that The Female Brain will be taking a distinctly humorous look at the subject matter, and the addition of James Marsden, Lucy Punch and Toby Kebbell certainly bodes well for the finished product. The question is – will it do well enough to warrant a sequel based on the 2010 follow-up book, The Male Brain? We’ll have to wait and see, but let’s hope Whitney Cummings gets to write and direct that one, too.