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  • Rachel Weisz seems to be everywhere. From a Soviet partisan in besieged Stalingrad in "Enemy at the Gates" to a self-assured single mom in "About a Boy" and most recently as a grifter in "Confidence," she inhabits her roles with deft assurance.

    Here, in Neil La Bute's play-brought-to-the-screen, "The Shape of Things," Weisz is a disturbing, thought-provoking challenging character: an artist in pursuit of a master's degree but in reality a tester of uncharted waters as she combines the creation of art with her relationship with a man who, like a canvas, is transformed from without. In this case by her.

    Paul Rudd is Adam, an art gallery guard who Evelyn, the art student, first encounters in a quirky exchange that suggests an unfolding comedy. There are humorous moments but a darker side slowly emerges as Evelyn carefully encourages Adam to shed his dorky exterior. There's nothing new, of course, with the theme, "Change if you love me," but here Adam's relationship with his close friends, Phillip (Fred Weller) and Jenny (very well acted by Gretchen Moll) takes some disturbing turns. Is Evelyn a catalyst or an agitator? Is her commitment to art part of her persona or its sum total? These questions are increasingly explored in this short film. Does the name "Adam" have some esoteric meaning here?

    Some plays don't travel well to the screen. This one does. La Bute's play seems to have been little altered by him for a screenplay.

    What is the place of ideas and intellectual experimentation in the creation and fostering of an intimate relationship? Are there boundaries that must be respected even if truth is sacrificed in the process? Does art illuminate or camouflage the reality of a relationship? No ready answers and no final ones here but the effort yields a thought-provoking study.

    Rachel Weisz's emerging and brooding intensity is the anchor for this unusual film. She also produced the movie.

    The score is by Elvis Costello. His fans will appreciate the soundtrack.

    8/10.
  • Terrifying but so true tale about the way people can control us and the reasons we just let them do it. Rachel Weisz is amazing as art student who makes changes to a lonely guy who just wants to fit in. The story in true Neil Labute fashion takes a macabre turn and makes you question everything that you have done in your relationship and gives you a well deserved punch in the stomach in the reality department as well. The acting is beyond top of its game with Rachel Weisz proving once again to be one of the most talented and gifted actresses of our generation. Her performance is beyond brilliant and she single handily carries this movie on her shoulders with her performance. Paul Rudd, Fred Weller and Gretchen Mole do great work as well and Neil Labute proves once again to be a profound playwright of uncanny wisdom of the evil that resides in the human heart.

    I do hope that Weisz and Labute work together again.
  • Adam Sorenson (Paul Rudd) is a simple, insecure and shy student that works half period as a security guard of a museum and in a rental. He meets the anarchist and transgressor student of Arts Evelyn Ann Thompson (Rachel Weizs) trying to paint a penis in an important statue, and after arguing with her, in the end they schedule a dinner. Evelyn becomes his girlfriend and he introduces his best friends, Jenny (Gretchen Mol) and Phillip (Frederick Weller), to her. As long as they stay together, Adam's behavior changes and his appearance and confidence improve influenced by Evelyn. He has an affair with Jenny, betraying and lying to Evelyn and to Phillip, and destroying their friendship. When Evelyn presents her thesis for the Master degree, Adam is surprised with revelations.

    When I saw the cruel "In the Company of Men" in 1997 or 1998, I became a great fan of Neil LaBute. However, his next good movies have never been in the same level of his debut. In "The Shape of Things", Neil LaBute is in shape again and presents a magnificent cruel and heartless tale of seduction and manipulation. I felt the same surprise as Adam with the plot point of the story, which is a great study of human behavior, with excellent performances of Rachel Weisz and Paul Rudd. My vote is nine.

    Title (Brazil): "Arte, Amor e Ilusão" ("Art, Love and Illusion")
  • After the first 30 minutes I felt like the film lacked energy. The pace was a little too slow for my taste, and the intensity too low. I wanted it to be snappier, more sizzling.

    But then, about halfway through, it got really interesting. The second half, although it still suffers from some pacing problems, makes up for the first. And then the third act is one of the most brilliant and satisfying third acts I saw in a long time. The ending brings together all of the elements and themes that were planted throughout the movie (our obsession with the way things look, the line between art and real life) to form insights about our lives that are as brutal as they are true.

    I am generally fond of Neil LaBute's work - most of the time his works contain more than what they initially seem to be (I haven't see "The Wicker Man" remake yet, but I heard it was horrible). Here, what starts off as your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy/drama, develops into a cynic's paradise, presenting insights into our lives which are as brutal as they are true.

    Three of the four actors do a splendid job (Weisz, Rudd & Mol). I especially liked Paul Rudd's performance, and the way his character changes throughout. All three, and especially Rachel Weisz, are convincing in their roles, and deliver multi-layered performances with lots of subtext. Fred Weller's performance leaves something to be desired, but the fact that his role is well written somewhat makes up for that. LaBute has successfully made all four characters three-dimensional and they feel like real people.

    Overall, I'd say it was a pretty great movie, certainly entertaining, and an important one to watch and analyze if you are into writing, directing or acting. Somewher, though, I feel like it didn't live up to its full potential. This script, if directed with more intensity, could have become one of my favorite movies, up there with films such as "Closer", "Glengary Glen Ross" or "Oleanna". Maybe it's the transition from the stage to the screen that made LaBute feel like he should make everything more minimalistic and restrained. But it's definitely worth checking out.
  • Heart wrenching and captivating look and relationships that is Neil Labute best film since his horrifying " In the Company of Men" Rachel Weisz literally hold the movie and the viewer in the palm of her hand with a supercharge performance that will be talked about for years and Paul Rudd does good as well as her object of desire. The movie starts off being one thing and ends up being something completely and terrifyingly different once it was over. This is one viewer who is still blown away by the climax and will probably always remember the lesson that was learned by watching this film. Special Thanks to Neil Labute and Rachel Weisz for making one of the most compelling movies ever made.
  • Years ago, when I was young and naive about movies, I read a harshly critical review of "The French Connection." The critic's main objection was that the movie deliberately rubbed the viewer's nerves raw in scene after scene, and then when that wasn't enough, applied something like cinematic rubbing alcohol to the abrasions to goad still more extreme reactions. The critic felt bruised and manipulated when the movie was over.

    This movie doesn't rub nerves raw and then apply rubbing alcohol; it drills holes straight into the viewer's skull and pours in battery acid. The trouble with this approach is that the viewer is lobotomized almost instantly, unless the viewer is old enough and crusty enough to have seen the kinds of tricks that Hollywood uses to goad us into strong reactions. There's a scene where the anti-protagonist tells the people attending the unveiling of her latest art project that she knows some people will have strongly negative reactions to her work. "Diversity is good," she says in one of the only lines in the movie where her delivery registers just slightly above the robotic, "just don't be apathetic."

    That's what the makers of this movie believe in. Love it or hate it, just please please pretty please don't yawn during the movie.

    Well, I yawned.

    This movie is the cinematic equivalent of every novel Ayn Rand ever wrote, in the sense that its "story" is really a manifesto, and it shows. Sure, if you're young and still intellectually a blank slate, but hungry for ideas, it can provide the starting point for vigorous debates. I suppose. For those of us who don't view the people around us as bugs in a collection, however (probably because we've already had our turns at being treated as a bug in a collection), this movie is just more pseudo-intellectual bile-venting all dressed up as serious, grown-up thinking. Consider such profound observations as, "Cute guys always develop a potty-mouth sooner or later; they think it makes them more adorable." Does this sound like Hegel to you? Or just a cheap cliché?

    I wasn't outraged or shocked or horrified or invigorated or captivated or astonished or anything else by this movie, any more than I am by some modern art exhibit that consists of an empty room with flashing lights, or the feces of an artist in a tin, or a severed penis in a jar. No: Just bored. I've seen it before. Five or six years down the road, someone else will come up with essentially the same idea, but they'll have to twist the knife just a bit harder to try to get a reaction from an ever-more jaded audience.

    Maybe this time the artist will kill her ersatz boyfriend. In the movie after that, she can cook and eat him. And in the one after that, she'll announce that the hors d'ouevres that her guests are nibbling are none other than the hapless Addam. Each will feature the same huge banner that reads, "Moralists have no place in an art gallery" (remember to make the letters EXTRA BIG like a Wal-Mart banner) and the same pale, Botoxesque, expressionless, emotionless "artiste" that the movie is lauding and skewering at the same time.

    Yawn.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The premise set in large type on the gallery wall of Evelyn's art school installation,"moralists have no place in an art gallery," seems such a blatant contradiction to her stated intentions (and by extension to Neil LaBute's) that it is hard not to suspect that there is some irony (or self-delusion) intended by its conspicuous signing as the backdrop for LaBute's compelling and open-ended denouement. (The quote is attributed to Han Suyin, pen name of the Chinese-born Elizabeth Comber, whose fascinating career, for those interested, is summarized on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Suyin). LaBute's thinly veiled allusion to the Fall played out by Adam and Evelyn, noted by many commentators, is perhaps the most fundamental and complex of morality tales, with Adam and Eve each owning their proper share of responsibility for the outcome. (The premonition of Original Sin is played out in the opening scene, when Evelyn, in her hubristic pursuit of "truth" prepares to spray paint a penis on the monumental, fig-leafed Hercules in the art gallery, to which Adam, by walking away, symptomatically acquiesces). It is difficult, as such, to find in this morality play a clear expression of LaBute's misogyny or misandry. Adam and Evelyn are fundamentally co-conspirators, perhaps true to their fallible, gender-determined natures, who in LaBute's canny postmodern twist on Original Sin, are left to contemplate the harsh realities of their hard-won knowledge. If the ostensible purpose of Evelyn's sophomoric MFA project is to rail against "indifference," surely in the metamorphosis of Adam, who hurls the painful, "potty-mouthed" expletive at Evelyn in the final scene ("F**k you, you heartless c**t"), we find that a greater knowledge has been won, as much about his own weakness as about the putative nature of women. Evelyn, for her part, played with complex ambiguity by Rachel Weisz in this final scene, exits conspicuously diminished by her "triumph." She no longer displays the confidence, and barely a shadow of the former diffidence that is her signature throughout the play. She has sacrificed all for her "art," which is laid bare as a dubious conceit regarding art's moral purposes. If her purpose was to expose Adam's lack of a center, she no less exposed her own. The gallery is empty -- none of the large audience that attended her performance (save Adam) is inspired to explore the installation, and she stands pathetically alone and forsaken, it seems, vulnerably clutching herself in the gallery (the body language seems to acknowledge representations of Eve handed down by Masaccio, Michelangelo, and Rodin). Paradoxically, she asks Adam as she makes her exit: "Are you coming?" The presumption is that in spite of the travesty she has vested upon Adam, they are inexorably linked to each other, each the fulfillment in their way of each other's worst nature. Adam demurs, of course (there is much to be said for knowledge, in spite of its costs). In this morality play, LaBute leaves it to us to sort out the consequences of fallible human behavior, and whether or not we find either of the principal players redeemable, he nevertheless leaves no doubt regarding our need to acknowledge the moral deficiencies of our archetypal ancestors. He is fundamentally a moralist in this regard, deeply rooted in the vague hope that art (in this case his, not Evelyn's) may transform us. In the last analysis, this is a humanistic impulse that transcends the superficial misanthropy suggested by the weaknesses of his all-too human characters.
  • gtodmon4 September 2005
    This film was absolutely not what I expected it to be. In the first half an hour, I even got a little bored, because it seemed like the story was going nowhere. Fortunately, I got my happy ending - no, not at all a film with a happy ending, just an ending that makes the film precious! It really makes you stare at the black screen, with the cast moving in front, and think about what you've seen over and over again. Of course, the brilliant play of Rachel Weisz cannot be left unmentioned, but I think that the others did a great job as well. "The Shape of things" is a film with actually just four actors and one great idea, and trust me, it is worth seeing. I am just wondering how would I feel the second time I watch it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When he was much younger, Woody Allen said that he would most likely have been a sniper on top of a building if he hadn't had his writing career. After seeing 3 of his self-penned movies now, I have come to the conclusion that the same fate might have awaited Neil LaBute if he hadn't gotten his writing 'thingie' off the ground.

    The Company of Men was vile, Your Friends and Neighbors was more subversive about it but vile just the same (even though I actually really liked that one), and now we have The Shape of Things, a 4-character indulgence which involves a personal betrayal of the vilest nature. Vile can be valid, don't get me wrong, but in LaBute's hands it seems to be more of a way for him to exorcise his own demons rather than attempt to consistently present us with believable situations and thoughtfully well-written characters. Of course he SHOULD exorcise those demons (the Woody Allen statement comes to mind again), but it would be much better if he could start doing it in a more constructive, less selfish way.

    This movie itself is very much like the character LaBute creates in the film (which was a play originally and feels like it, also not good)- the character played by Rachel Weitz, who portrays "EVElyn", a lovely little Gemini sociopath, to Paul Rudd's Adam: -=- this is NOT a spoiler because it's mentioned in the film's synopsis here at imdb -=- Weitz' character brutally exploits Rudd's character under the guise of an 'art' project for school, but in reality, her project would have been more appropriate for a psychology class experiment or even more appropriately, for a dissertation in Sadism 101.

    The film does the same thing - from the title, it seems like it's some sort of commentary on our society but in reality it's just an excessively mean-spirited indulgence on LaBute's part. There is no truth here, not really, and because of this, the acting isn't very good either, especially in the scenes where Rudd is supposed to be devastated by Weitz' betrayal -- at no time do we actually feel anything resembling reality in his reaction to her cruelty. He doesn't transmit genuine hurt or anger or any combination of those two, and when he sort of acts like he's crying, it's even less believable. Sort of like the film itself.
  • Neil Labute's shocker is nothing short of breathtaking with amazing performance by Rachel Weisz who is becoming the best actress we have around. The story is intense and the performance is great all around, and it will floor you once you finish seeing it. The biggest praise goes to Rachel Weisz, who single handily makes this movie as great as it is, and she carries this film on her shoulders all the way. Her performance is a tight rope of nerves and guts, and she does it all with style.

    If you are looking for an intelligent movie with a great and fearless performance by one of the best actresses of our generation, this is it. If you can't take reality, then go hide under a rock.
  • stevehuison6 January 2004
    Very impressive in the way that it leaves a lasting impression, which good films should. The details keep returning to me long after seeing it. Obviously the kind of film that deserves a second viewing. Great cast, their ages being immaterial to me. The crafting of the story and the conviction of the actors was what mattered, and what a breath of fresh air to observe such long scenes, one after the other, without any flashy, distracting camera work. Ms Weisz and Mr Labute have created a modern day Femme Fatale - how refreshing! This is the first film I've publicly applauded in a cinema since The Magdalene Sisters. Get out to the cinema and see this now before it hits video.
  • Six years after his savage debut ('In The Company Of Men'), Neil LaBute decided to steal from himself and churn out the same formula again. 'The Shape Of Things' is really just 'In The Company Of Men' for women. I won't elaborate further on that point or I'd give too much away, most of which you should be able to guess anyway. Both his freshman film and this one are not without fascinating moments, but at least he came up with an original idea his first time out as a filmmaker. The final 20 minutes of 'The Shape Of Things' won't come as a surprise to those who pay even a little bit of attention to the story. I pretended to be stunned when the plot turn happened just to amuse myself. After all, the movie wasn't amusing me anymore.

    LaBute gives only four actors speaking parts. Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz are the leads, college students Adam & Evelyn. [That's almost Adam & Eve, isn't it? And there's even a fall from innocence after an act of treachery. No Garden Of Eden, though.] When they meet, he's fleshy and shy. She's another in the overwhelmingly long line of female free spirits who show their guy a whole world of fun & sex they never knew existed. Whee! Gretchen Mol and Frederick Weller are the other two actors who get to speak (only four actors get lines in a psychological drama...ooh, ooh, I know, it's 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?', right?] and they play Adam's engaged friends. Their relationship with Evelyn is never wonderful and it changes as the movie plays out. They don't like seeing their friend change so much just to please this new girlfriend.

    Rudd gradually transforms, physically and emotionally. The title of the film refers to what concerns too many of the superstar-gazers out there, the surface of things or...anyone, anyone?...the shape of things. Our society DOES put form over content far too often, but average-looking guys like me don't need a movie to tell us that a Hollywood-ugly Paul Rudd (who's still quite handsome) must get plastic surgery, contact lenses, and different clothes to get laid. As he gains material "value", he loses his sense of morality. The climax pounds and pounds that point home for those who walked into the picture very late.

    I've been harder on the film than I probably should be. The actors do the best they can with such obvious material. This was a stage play first, then LaBute adapted it---just barely---for the screen. It's stagy and overly wordy, with some quaint actorly touches that The Actor's Studio would just love. All the same, some of these devices seem forced. There's not much else here if the characters don't interest you because LaBute is no technical visionary. He takes pictures of people talking. In this case, that got old before the credits rolled.

    It's interesting that Weisz flips the bird to the audience during her character's artistic summation because the director himself could have stood in for her and taken care of that gesture himself. This is a man who must stare at the ceiling at night and wonder just how brutal his characters can be. LaBute's lead actress' double fingers say more about what he thinks of his audience than anything else in 'The Shape Of Things'. Now, where's my copy of 'Nurse Betty'? There's a movie of his that won't make me feel like diving head-first into a sponge bath.
  • This is one of the most interesting movies I've ever seen, and I've seen a few over the last 50 years. It is yet another wake up call for Americans, in the spirit of recent documentaries like Fahrenheit 911 and An Inconvenient Truth. This film is an indictment of our prejudices towards the abnormal, especially physical appearance (eg sexism, ageism, racism), and our hypocritical relationship to the truth of our own feelings, particularly in our intimate relationships. Put that together with the corruption, duplicity and violence of our political life highlighted in Fahrenheit 911, and the careless and dangerous disregard of our relationship to the Earth demonstrated in An Inconvenient Truth, and you get a picture of America that is beyond disturbing. Thank you and congratulations to writer/director Neil LaBute and producer/actress Rachel Weisz (her emotional believability and fluidity in this film are chilling). How this film grossed under $1 mil is a mystery to me. Maybe this is not a message we're ready to hear yet. Please see this film.
  • This is a terrible movie! A) Neil Labute is under the mistaken impression that depicting humankind as self-absorbed, cruel, shallow, misogynist, misanthropes somehow means he's really deep or hip or artistic. NOT. I argued against those who called In the Company of Men misogynist, because I thought the man was trying to make a point about misogyny and how unattractive/self-loathing it is, etc. But after seeing 5 films by this man, I realize he's not commenting on these things, he simply IS these things. He probably thinks he's very Mamet-esque, but he shares more in common with Todd Solodnz who doesn't seem to think much of humankind, either. The "f*** you" that Rachel Weisz delivers straight to the camera at the end, as she flips the bird with both hands -- because one bird and the words just don't quite get the point across -- is Labute's message to the world, including the audience that pays their hard-earned money to see his movies. B) This is a 4 character play put on film. It reads like a play, it's staged like a play. I didn't see the play, but I feel as though I have. I could see the scene changes, accompanied by the same scene change music, as opposed to a real film score. The dialogue had that stilted, actor-y stage quality complete with those pauses which are supposed to be filled with subtext but really just play as if the director said, count to 5 before your next line. And there are some talented actors in here, who deserve better. In short, it's contrived, it's ugly, it's poorly directed, it's not worth your $9.25 and I hate to say that about any indie film, cause I want to support indies. But I want to oppose misanthropy more. There's so much to be writing about in this world at this time that is truly important, and this is filmic equivilent of performance art which, like a self-important art student,
  • A tedious, pointlessly mean-spirited film version of what appears to have been quite a bad play to begin with. Usually excellent actors (Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Frederick Weller) give overly fussy, theatrical performances that seem designed to inject some energy into the script's turgid dialog and unbelievable plot turns. Apparently intending to make a significant statement about the ultimate and necessary amorality of art, the film only succeeds in making one wonder why even a schlub like the Rudd character would put up with the obvious insanity of Weisz's Evelyn, even if she is the first woman to bed him since high school. The self-conscious hatefulness of the material is puerile and unredeemed by any real insight into either art or the human condition. Truly dreadful.
  • While a well done film, it's not enjoyable. There are enough mean people in the world without voluntarily subjecting yourself to another one that is the heart of this film. Rachel Weisz plays convincingly in this film as a heartless art student who subjects Paul Ruud to her talents as a sculptor of humans. The best thing about this film is Paul Ruud's subtle transformation from geek to chic. By the end of the film, you've realized how convincing his change was. However, just because a movie is well made and well acted does not mean it is worth watching. When I left this movie, I felt as if I had spent two hours in the company of evil and meanness. If you like a think piece that leaves you feeling negative, then this is the perfect movie. But if you're looking to spend your hard earned money on a movie that leaves you feeling better for having spent it, choose another flick.
  • All I can say about this movie that it's all about art, right? Maybe, it's all that anyone can say in their own point of view. Here you got an art student(Rachel Weisz) who meets a meek man name Adam(Paul Rudd). These two hook up, they talk about art, meets his two friends, then the fun really begins. When the meek Adam hangs with Evelyn, the disaster is ready in the making. After a full transformation, Adam is the talk of the town, in all ways. Mostly, Evelyn gets her way in which everyone in town gets the word. So in my word, what's next? This movie has a great cast, a superb plot and a terrific outcome that you wouldn't find in any other movie I've seen. Sometimes you gotta beware who your friends are, some will be helpful, some will be self centered, and there are those who will say anything who would help themselves. Evelyn was as cold as the catch of the day and anyone would paint a picture perfect detail of everything she did. This movie deserve an A!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just watched this last night (I'm in the process of adding all the Focus Features films to my collection and my wife and I both like Gretchen Mol), what a huge disappointment.

    This is quite possibly one of the worst 10 films I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot of films. The acting is atrocious, nothing redeeming at all, maybe Mol and Weisz. I blame most of this on the author, he just never gives them anything intelligent to say. Rudd's acting was awful and Weller's a complete joke.

    For those claiming at least the ending was surprising, give me a break! You could see this one coming a mile away. The scene in the doctors office waiting for the nose job was the last straw.

    This movie was painful to watch.

    Also, I don't like when reviewers who have a 'vested interest' in those involved with the movie, bombard us with their biased opinions.

    Avoid at all costs, trust me. If I had only one word to describe this movie, it "SUCKED".

    George -bub
  • I just saw The Shape of Things by Neil Labute: I think he may be the Hitchcock of this age. (Not in the beautiful-genius-cinematography, masterful-lighting way wherein every still is a perfect and artful photograph.) Labute brings all of the disturbing psychological warfare to the forefront, to the dramatic plot with spare, unobtrusive cinematography and subtle lighting. What was scary about Hitchcock was that although most couldn't relate to a situation where your spouse may or may not be plotting to kill you, many could relate to the underlying fear that you may not be able to totally trust your loved one. This dynamic was magnified which raised the stakes for suspenseful purpose, but I contend it also, at least on the conscious level, distanced it, made it a comfortable journey of anxiety and then terror: one could clearly see, this doesn't look like my life, nor does sound like my life. In watching The Shape of Things, I found myself soothing my nerves with the phrase, "this is only a movie." You see, it looks very much like many people's lives. It's commonplace in our culture to date/befriend people we know nothing about. We never meet their families. We take them at their word with regard to what they do for a living. We take them at their word that they have no other motive than wanting to get to know us, perhaps get close to us. The Shape slowly unwinds a yarn, letting the viewer slowly suspect, while the protagonist remains innocent and hopeful. It is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, because it reveals how vulnerable we really are.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Rather than going to the effort of hiring actors, set designers, grips, best boys and caterers, why couldn't hot air auteurs like Bute simply get someone to film him on videotape, sitting in a chair and pontificating? What people admire about Bute -- the supposed cruel honesty -- I find mere contrariness and easy irony. Perhaps his next effort will be a kid's flick in which the little girl's bunny rabbit (surprise spoiler!) is put through a meat grinder in the last reel.

    What's worse than his insipid insights is his failure to entertain. The movie is so stagebound that you cannot forget for a moment the fact that Bute is just a couple of feet offscreen manipulating the players. It would've been more honest and entertaining to have watched him than the action captured by the camera.
  • One of the worst films I have ever seen. Trite, inconsistent, overdone characters spouting an endless spray of lip flap, ultimately betraying an idea which might have had impact in more capable hands.

    I don't even know why I'm writing this, it doesn't even merit criticism. I want my 90 minutes and 9 bucks back.
  • Paul_from_Enumclaw29 February 2004
    Warning: Spoilers
    (Spoiler alert!)

    What a waste of talent. I waited this whole movie, hoping that one of the two female stars would take off some clothing or make out or something... anything... enough to make this movie worth my time.

    Nope. Another 90+ minutes of my life I'll never get back.

    The concept and story of the movie actually had some saving grace, although as a general rule I hate "gotcha" kinds of movies. This movie does have a bit of a "gotcha"... if you don't read the description or the box or any reviews.

    If you do, you'll know the "surprise" ending is that Weisz' character isn't really interested in Rudd's; she just wants to remake him and mold him. He's her "master's" art project.

    Blah. Who gives a rip? Since we don't ever really get to know him (or his friends) prior to this transformation, we don't care about his changes. And through much of the movie, they're not that big a deal- some new clothes, he works out (heck, I'd start running marathons to get a chance to boink Rachel Weisz!), he gets a haircut. Even the nose job isn't all that big a deal- it's set in California, land of the surgically enhanced, after all.

    No, this movie doesn't make any big "statement", unless it's that some art students are complete morons (which we already knew) who excuse and hide their lack of talent by being intentionally rude, mean, and nasty people.

    Big deal. This movie was a waste of everyone's talent- LaBute, the actors, you name it. Don't waste yer time with it.
  • Neil LaButte is a provocative film director. This film based on the play of the same title played better on the stage than on the screen.

    Mr. LaButte has changed strategy here by giving the strong role of his tale to Evelyn. Evelyn could stand for Eve enticing the man she has chosen to play with his mind in the story, Adam, an absolute idiot in the hands of this Eve. This Evelyn cast her spell on this man just to prove a point in her thesis.

    This is a role reversal for Mr. LaButte since he has told the story with a man's point of view before. Adam plays the role of the handicapped secretary of Mr. LaButte's In the Company of Men, in that he is ridiculed by the all powerful Evelyn and reduced to nothing in the process. Don't ever mess around with a powerful woman who wants to prove a point! This Evelyn doesn't mince words, or fool around, she goes for the jugular.

    There are a lot of symbolism hidden in the plot in the form of theater plays presented at, get this, Mercy College. Medea, Hedda Gabler, even Pygmalion are in the background. They reinforce the idea that whatever Eve-lyn wants, Eve-lyn will get. She shows absolutely no mercy on her victims.

    The story is static at best. It drags for 90something minutes. A lot of spectators left the screening I attended. They just didn't get it, and oh, most, if not, were men.

    Rachel Weisz makes an attractive Evelyn. Paul Rudd is properly bewitched, bothered and bewildered by his lady Eve. Gretchen Mol's role is somewhat of a puzzle. Finally, Frederick Weller plays the confused dude who is made a fool by Evelyn too and ends up losing his sweetheart as well.

    Perhaps opening the play in a different way would have helped this film because it just feels as though is filmed theater.
  • I used to think that Paul Schrader was the sickest mind in Hollywood, but after seeing "The Shape of Things", I now give it to Neil LaBute. I guess this is kind of a left-handed compliment, because I will say that his films are fascinating to watch. I didn't think this was as good as "In the Company of Men," or "Nurse Betty", but definitely worth seeing. As I'm familiar with LaBute's work, I was waiting for the sick twist to occur, and of course wasn't disappointed. As in most LaBute films, the dialogue is amazingly good. I thought each of the four major performances were strong, but I tended to like the supporting players (Mol and Weller) more than the leads (Rudd and Weisz).
  • . .which is unfortunately an awful combination. It simply amplified whatever flaws the film already would have had.

    Put me in the same camp as the rest of the haters, I suppose, but mostly I'm really disappointed. This could have been an incredible movie. I really wanted it to be, anyway. The concept was interesting (enough so that I plunked down $10 to see how it played out)and I walk into the theater already predisposed to like it. LaBute was a director willing to challenge audience comfort and norms; Weisz and Rudd are two actors whose work I enjoy; and I was in thrall with the idea that on film would be captured the raw nature of human relationships and character, in all of its malicious ruthless glory.

    I see I was hoping too much. What I got instead was a play on film with four actors and an incredibly stilted feeling to all aspects of the film, from the acting to the cinematography to tthe dialogue. Everything felt boxed in and rehearsed! Nobody broke out of the boundaries, which is irritating from a film that promises to unleash the full, brutal nature of relations between man and woman. As for all the "subtlety", it is ruined by the film's large looming sense of its own self importance. The concepts are bashed over the audience's heads like a baseball bat and Evelyn HUGE revelation in the end .. .*yawn* ho hum. I'm sorry, did everybody else see that coming too? Because everyone in our theater sure did! The enthusiasts of this film will say others simply missed the subtlety and the nuances but I pity the people who ignored the wooden acting and awful cinematography in the rush to praise LaBute prematurely. Thanks for this disappointment, Neil.

    my advice? Don't waste this interesting concept: remake the movie in a couple of years with an entirely new cast (what a mistake using the stage cast: all of the acting, down to the line recitals and hand gestures felt painfully rehearsed . .*sigh* even the normally refreshing Rachel Weisz, who is loads better in 'Confidence' btw) and a director with fresh ideas and without fear. LaBute was simply too close to the project to bring about a refreshing film version of his play. And, gods, Gretchen Mol really needs to stop doing films. Shouldn't she and Claire Forlani really be waitressing at your local Denny's by now?
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