By Owen Gleiberman
Updated January 21, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

Once again (after ”Edward Scissorhands” and ”Benny & Joon”), Johnny Depp seems to be trying to reach a state of complete emotional passivity on screen in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. His Gilbert is the wayward elder son in a family of unhappy weirdos. Director Lasse Hallstrom has made a comedy as gossamer as a butterfly’s wings, one that stares at its characters with ironic affection. Yet, like its poker-faced hero, the movie stares a little too much. ”Gilbert Grape” is sweet and occasionally touching but also wan and distant. It tweaks your sympathies without ever firing your endorphins.

Advertisement

Comments