The Shape of Things

LaBute's screen transfer of his 2001 play is a typically (and self-reflexively) viperish piece of work, a boy meets girl make-over movie less Pygmalion than Vertigo in its romantic cynicism, though far less universal in its implications. Indeed, the subtext here isn't worldly sexual relations so much as LaBute's continuing compulsion to needle his audience. Coming on like a post-Eden parable, it starts in the shade of an Olympian nude whose imposed modesty is guarded by frumpy gallery attendant Adam (Rudd). Pliant before bolshy art student Evelyn (Weisz), come to demonstrate the statue's phallic baggage with a spray can, Adam is soon the subject of a remodelling himself under her intimate attentions. Step by step, his hair and clothes morph, his body and confidence beef up. It's flagrantly contrived drama. The most immediate problem is LaBute's crude characterisation. His antagonists spout some tantalisingly arch, curt dialogue, but they're cyphers, so the film's climactic revelations clang hollow. There are barbs here to tickle anyone's paranoia, but the callousness isn't illustrative, just exploitative.

Release details

Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Neil LaBute
Screenwriter: Neil LaBute
Cast: Gretchen Mol
Paul Rudd
Rachel Weisz
Frederick Weller
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