Evaluating “The Shape of Things” (the LaBute Film)

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. 

Cover of "The Shape of Things"
Cover of The Shape of Things

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