By Ty Burr
July 29, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

This lazy Iowa shaggy-Depp story plays more cozily on the home screen; in fact, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is like having the family across the street over for Doritos and beer. True, the family across the street may not have a retarded son who likes to climb water towers (Leonardo DiCaprio, in a sweetly detailed, Oscar-nominated performance) or a 500-pound mom who never leaves the house (the astounding Darlene Cates). As a footloose son held fast by duty, Johnny Depp’s the calm center here, exuding a withdrawn charisma as the movie’s many bright flakes dance around him. B

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