April 25, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Shape of Things

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
97 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/09/03
performer
Gretchen Mol, Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Frederick Weller
director
Neil LaBute
distributor
Focus Features
author
Neil LaBute
genre
Drama
We gave it a C+

For any guy who has ever thought a museum would be a cool place to meet women, consider ”The Shape of Things” a cautionary tale. Paul Rudd plays Adam, a young man who’s working as a guard at a college museum when he meets Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), a mischievous art student. As romance blossoms, so does Adam’s self-esteem, which consequently makes him more attractive to an unrequieted love (Gretchen Mol), who happens to be engaged to his best friend (Frederick Weller). Yet these are the least of the twisted turns in Neil LaBute’s $3 million adaptation of his 2001 play, shot in just 19 days last year with its original London and Broadway cast. ”The Nurse Betty” director added scenes, locales, and Elvis Costello songs to alleviate the inevitable stage-to-screen claustrophobia.

”It might not feel like ‘Enemy of the State,’ but it will feel like a movie,” says LaBute, who sees the film as a counterpoint to his guys-can-be-scum debut, 1997’s ”In the Company of Men.” Rudd believes the movie is worthy of the play but bemoans the loss of a few only-in-the-theater moments — like the climax, where Rudd, Weller, and Mol sat in the audience while Weisz explained how she…well, that would be spoiling ”Things.” Quips Rudd: ”It would be impossible to go to every movie theater in the country and re-create the experience — though it sure would be a great way to rack up frequent-flier miles.”

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