Warning!: Spoilers ahead!
The Shape of Things is a film based on a play of the same name. Both the play and the screenplay are written by Neil LaBute of In the Company of Men fame. Keeping true to its roots, the film has only a cast of four:
Gretchen Mol as Jenny
Paul Rudd as Adam
Rachel Weisz as Evelyn
Fred Weller as Phil
The film opens with Adam doing rounds as a guard in a museum. Evelyn is there to spraypaint a penis on a statue, the original member having been covered up as a result of community protest. The two hit it off and Adam somehow gets talked into walking away from the scene of the crime, but with Ev's phone number.
In the next scene, Adam and Evelyn are waiting for his friends to arrive so the four of them can attend a play. When his friends (Phil and Jenny) arrive, they badger him about his new sweater, generally poking fun at his fashion statement. Ev stands up for him and the four go to the play.
Afterwards, they go Phil and Adam's apartment. It turns out Phil and Jenny are getting married. Phil and Evelyn get into an argument in which Ev stops just short of calling him a moron. Phil question Evelyn's "artistic impulses" and she goes off about the statue, saying that whomever vandalized it was making a statement. They continue to fight- loudly- and the two couples part ways.
Cut to Adam and Evelyn in bed, having just videotaped themselves having sex. They talk, have a fight about an artist who paints with menstrual fluids and make up. They whisper something in each other's ear and she gives him a blowjob.
Jenny has asked Adam to meet her in the park. She thinks Phil is having an affair. Adam and Jenny flirt, kiss, deny that it happened, then make out again.
Adam and Evelyn are in the plastic surgeon's office where she convinces him to get a nose job, saying that it was one of the best things she ever did for herself. They share scars and he shows her his new tattoo ("E.A.T", her intials)
We cut to Adam and Phil talking outside. Adam's nose is bandaged and he tells Phil he fell down the stairs. However, Evelyn already told Phil about Adam's nose job. Also, Jenny told Phil that she and Adam made out. Phil notices Adam's new jacket and asks what Evelyn is doing to him. They have a physical fight and Adam storms off, taking Phil's bag by accident.
Evelyn and Jenny meet at a coffee place. Adam shows up, Evelyn becomes extremely confrontational, asking him why he lied to Phil about his nose. She also alludes to a possible romantic interest between Jenny and Adam. She makes a big deal about everything and reveals that she's been reading Adam's journal and knows that he kissed Jenny. Evelyn reveals that she kissed Phil to make things fair and Jenny storms out. Evelyn manipulates Phil into agreeing he'll never talk to Phil or Jenny again and makes the whole fiasco out to be his fault.
Adam and Phil meet up at Evelyn's big art show. Phil reveals that he and Jenny broke off the engagement. Jenny shows up, the three toss some barbs and they all sit seperately. Adam asks Evelyn to marry him and she says she'll let him know after the show.
The show begins and EVelyn reveals that her artwork is a human sculpture: Adam. Jenny gets up, denounces whats happened and storms out. Evelyn says she had no feelings for Adam, but persisted in the relationship to see how far she could go. She airs his dirty laundary (The nose job, Jenny, generally being an asshole when influenced by Ev), turns down his proposal and says that she has no regrets.
Adam shows up at the exhibit (Headline: "Moralists have no place in art". The contents of the exhibit includes the sex tape, before and after pictures and the ring) and it's just himself and Evelyn, no one else showed up. They get into a fight, he asks for the ring back. She says the whole relationship wasn't real to her, but offers one last blow: Whatever she whispered to him was the one true thing she meant.
Should you watch The Shape of Things? Definitley. While not a great film, it's eminently likeable. Well directed, it moves at a brisk pace, keeping the action rolling. Second watches are infuriating as you realize Evelyn's intent. I'm pretty sure everyone's been in a situation like this, manipulated and left for dead. The cast is great, Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz playing against each other perfectly. Rudd, with his gentle, nerdish charms is alterantely sympathetic and pathetic. Weisz, stradaling the line between seductress and savior had even me fooled until nearly the very end. The ending is brutal, well played and cathartic.
Sure to spark a debate on naivty and moralism, The Shape of Things is a movie just about anyone can dig.