I can tell that Robert "Bobby" Dubac is a funny guy. He's got a sharp wit, and keen observational skills. But there's a certain rigid, practiced air to his comic stylings in this presentation of Inside the Male Intellect, a smirk-faced smugness that tends to detract from what is generally entertaining material. Inside the Male Intellect is a stage-play comedy about the battle of the sexes in which Dubac—black-clad and strutting—walks through a somewhat stiffly choreographed standup routine and segues now and then into a series of exaggerated characters that illustrate his points about the different aspects of the male intellect, all in an effort to understand women.
"Behind this curtain is the inside of my brain," he states at the start of his show. "This is the left side, my male chauvinistic side," he says, pointing to the dorm-room side of the stage, "and this is the female side." Over on that side is just a chalkboard, empty of any writing. Throughout the show, he will jump from one character to another in an attempt to gradually grasp "what women want." Each character adds a small facet to that understanding—honesty, communication, passion, sense of humor, and so on—by doing an extended standup routine and writing on the board. It's the old reliable kind of material we all love in our standup—biting observations about how men differ vastly from women and why we so often clash emotionally and psychologically and behaviorally.
And as I said, Bob is an often-wicked observer, offering knife-sharp commentary that cuts to the bone of the sexual-psychology mysteries. He often has his theater audience in the palm of his hand. In fact, I have a feeling Inside the Male Intellect is a more successful show when it's experienced live. On DVD, it's an odd beast: You can grasp that Dubac's writing is strong, and the humor should be connecting with you, but the presentation sometimes seems static and strangely uninvolving, despite very frequent cutting to an audience that's beside itself with laughter and the spirit of participation. The inherent freshness of a live show probably—hopefully—gives the production a spontaneity that the taped performance lacks.
All that being said, this cross between a standup act and a stage show offers many moments of bright wit that you can at least appreciate—if not laugh out loud with. I wouldn't mind catching the live show with my wife. But something's missing on the cold, digital surface of the DVD—this show needs the warmth of the stage.
HOW'S IT LOOK?
Anchor Bay presents Inside the Male Intellect in a perfectly fine anamorphic-widescreen transfer of the show's 1.77:1 presentation. Taped before a live studio audience, the video production offers striking detail and depth, lending the presentation a real sense of immediacy. Colors are accurate and appealing, too. And blacks are inky. This is a really find video presentation, for what it is.
HOW'S IT SOUND?
The disc offers both a Dolby Digital 2.0 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and both provide good presentations. The surround track is preferred, as it gives you a nice reproduction of what the stage experience must be like. Audience noise—laughter and applause—sits naturally in the surround speakers, and Bob's voice resonates through the entire soundfield, much like the "Concert Hall" ambient effect that some receivers offer. Dialog comes across naturally.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
The only supplements on the disc are a series of extra scenes labeled Bonus Bob: Additional Scenes. Take, for example, the first one, Linger's Ad Lib. In this scene, Bob departs from his routine for a hilarious moment of spontaneity with an audience member. Tellingly, it's funnier than anything in the actual show, and Bob's natural wit really shines through genuinely. Phillip Pomeroy introduces a new character that's pretty much in line with the type of characters he introduces in the main show. Shop or Buy? talks about an essential difference between the sexes involving consumerism. Silent Communication provides more straight standup about nonverbal communication—good stuff. And Live Technical Difficulties gives you some of just that. All the scenes add up to about 20 minutes.
WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY?
Probably best experienced live, Inside the Male Intellect nevertheless offers some wry observational humor about the sexes. I wish that the man at the center of this one-man show had loosened up a little bit during the performance, because a lot of it comes across a bit archly