LaBute's plot points are as phony as they are manipulative. Every detailfrom the superficial aspects of campus life to Adam's inexplicably afforded nose jobrequires an excuse pass from the author. Worse, his characters don't so much transform as grow louder. As Adam's romantically linked friends, Gretchen Mol and Frederick Weller are convincing enough, though the more they're sucked into the machinery of LaBute's parable, the less recognizable they become. The Shape of Things strives for profundity, though its biblical proclamations about art and love are inadequately earned. Ideas funneled into a story in the final act may provoke discussion, but they'll never have the power of truth wrought from genuine struggle.