Written and directed by Neil LaBute, The Shape of Things (2003) is based on LaBute’s play of the same name. What the four-character piece tells us is that amatory love is squalid, innocence is repulsively assaulted, and contemporary art—yes, there’s even something about art—or pseudo-art is ludicrous, sometimes hurtful, folly. Indeed, it is something for the Messalinas of the world to obsess about.
Unfortunately LaBute has wrought a specious plot, thus causing a misshaping for The Shape of Things. But at least the film isn’t frivolous or boring. The bulk of the acting I l like since, for one thing, Gretchen Mol, like Rachel Weisz (the film’s Messalina), knows how to be nuanced. Paul Rudd, on the other hand, does not quite convince as a man who changes into something other than a shy naif.