The Shape Of Things

Critics Consensus

LaBute returns to his earlier themes of cruelty in relationships, and the results hit hard.



Total Count: 138


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,927
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Movie Info

After a detour into lighter and more compassionate fare with Nurse Betty and Possession, Neil LaBute returns to the themes of his earlier films with this dark and corrosive look at male-female relationships. Adam (Paul Rudd) is a chubby, bespectacled nebbish of a college student who makes money in his spare time as a security guard at the university's art museum. One evening at work, Adam spies another student preparing to deface a statue -- Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), a beautiful art major who is offended by a fig leaf that's been used to "censor" a statue of a nude male, and is prepared to replace the disguised member with spray paint. Adam can't quite bring himself to kick Evelyn out of the museum, and she responds by giving him her phone number. Adam and Evelyn begin dating, and as she challenges his ideas about art and morality, she begins remaking Adam into the sort of boyfriend she'd prefer. Under her influence, Adam loses weight, gets contact lenses, changes his hairstyle, starts dressing better, and assumes a cooler and more confident personality. Adam's pal Philip (Frederick Weller) notices the changes in his friend and isn't happy with the way Evelyn has been molding Adam to her specifications. Adam and Evelyn have dinner one night with Philip and his fiancée, Jenny (Gretchen Mol), and before long Philip and Evelyn are at each other's throats as Adam and Jenny cower along the sidelines. The tensions between Philip and Evelyn exacerbate uneasiness between Jenny and her husband to be, while at the same time, Jenny and Adam begin to recognize a mutual attraction that's long lurked beneath the surface. The Shape of Things was adapted by LaBute from his stage drama of the same name; a selection of songs by Elvis Costello comprise the soundtrack.


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Critic Reviews for The Shape Of Things

All Critics (138) | Top Critics (45)

Audience Reviews for The Shape Of Things

  • Apr 02, 2012
    "The Shape of Things" speaks volumes about human character, but in the process of doing so, it skips out on some of the more important aspects, like an engaging story and worthwhile characters. LaBute's message hits harder than his previous ventures, but it lacks the entertainment value. That being said, I have never seen a more gut-wrenching and depressing climax in any film. Almost made me feel sick to my stomach.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2011
    Neil LaBute completes a trilogy (unofficial, of course) of films about how men and women act and treat each other. "The Shape of Things" (adapted from his stage play like his other two features, the memorable "In the Company of Men" and the dicey "Your Friends & Neighbors") is another scathing and insightful look into relationships. While you will never meet anyone like the people in this or his other films, you will recognize bits and pieces of everyone in each. The dialogue is complex and full and the performances are committed and juicy. "The Shape of Things" marks the last good film LaBute has made (for whatever reason he moves on to goofy Hollywood thrillers like "The Wicker Man" and "Lakeview Terrace" and the embarrassing "Death at a Funeral" remake- one would think those films were from a totally different human all together; my bet is he became a drug addict because no one looses such talent so quickly) but this wonderful, tricky and rewarding series of films is well worth your serious time and attention. I think "The Shape of Things" is the easiest to digest, but when taken as a whole, you will never forget any of them.
    Steven C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 24, 2009
    Actually watched this during my Theater class wasn't bad but it wasn't good either, it kinda lies somewhere in between slightly humorous and what the Hell?!!!
    Jason R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2009
    This movie is slow moving and irritating at times but if you keep watching, you'll find the one thing that makes it worth it. Rachel Weisz. She is the only remotely interesting character - sorry Paul Rudd but this is the first time I found you annoying. If I had been able to buy the two of them as a couple, it would have been a more powerful climax.
    Sunil J Super Reviewer

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