anybody who has seen In the "Company of Men", they
will soon find out that Neil LaBute returns back to similar
form with his new film "The Shape of Things". And
for those who were entertained by the savage battle of the
sexes on display in the earlier movie will be similarly enthralled
with this new film. LaBute is so good at creating
interesting characters (even though you may hate some of
them) and his quick, biting writing can only make one think
of David Mamet.
The story unfolds as we meet Adam who is a nerdy college
student working part-time in a museum. He discovers a
girl near an almost nude statue and who has stepped across
the ropes which are meant to keep people away from the art.
Adam tries to persuade the girl to leave when he finds out
that her intentions is to spray paint the statue because she
finds something about it to be not an honest piece of art.
Well, it turns out this girl, Evelyn, is an art student, and
sure enough she and Adam takes a liking to each other and
We soon are introduced to Adam's roommate Phillip and his fiancée
Jenny. Phillip is a real obnoxious jerk and Jenny is a
sweet girl who wants Phillip to change but apparently will
accept him as he is anyway. As the story unfolds,
Evelyn decides to change things about Adam at about every
turn. For his improvement, she has him change his hair
style, lose weight, wear different clothes, and even get a
nose job. Adam willfully goes along with all these
suggestions because his is obviously slowly falling in love
with this wild and creative Evelyn. Then conflicts
appear between all four friends and lovers which threatens
both their friendships and the romance between both couples.
At this stage, I will stop talking about the plotline of the
story in order to not give anything away. Suffice to
say, the film takes a detour from heaven to hell.
There are lots of themes being tackled in this film.
From the situations where lovers try to change each other to
meet their expectations of what they want their partner to
be, to the themes of manipulation, distrust and humiliation
that often goes on in relationships. At first, I was
disappointed in the story because it appeared to be an
overly sweet story of opposites who are attracted to each
other. Boy, was I ever wrong! The story gets
more intriguing as it goes along and the final third act
will knock you off your seat. LaBute pulls no punches
here as cruelty and manipulation over-powers the excitement
of romance between young lovers. The story quickly
becomes a fascinating battle of the sexes at the expense of
a sweet love story between college students.
As I mentioned earlier, LaBute displays his great writing in
this film. The dialogue is crisp and can quickly turn
from being funny to being dead serious and biting.
I've read where all four actors in this film had performed
on stage playing the same characters as this was a play
first. At times, the way they say their dialogue
appears to be from the stage rather than being totally real.
And I found that the character Phillip was a bit too
obnoxious. But these are minor quibbles with this film
as I found it to be most engrossing, especially after the
first third of the movie.
All the actors give very good performances all around.
Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz are given most of the screen time
and they are nothing short of marvelous. Seems I've
seen Weisz in many different movies lately and she continues
to impress with each and every role. I don't recall
seeing Rudd before but just based on this performance alone,
I look for him to be on the screen often in the future.
Anybody who goes see this movie and expects to be
entertained by your run of the mill romantic comedy will be
easily shocked by the turn of events of the story.
This is not your typical love story with a fairy tale
ending. If you have seen some of LaBute's earlier
films, you will probably know to expect something dangerous
and much more original than the typical movie about college
sweethearts. The final act of this film just blew me