John Irving's bestselling book - one of those huge, baggy, scattergun novels that Americans imagine contain all human life - is noticeably shortened and not improved by Steve Tesich's script, which loses Irving's perceptions of Garp's life existing within a much larger flow of experience. All we are left with are some of those telling symbolic nuggets from another cradle-to-the-grave saga of a New England writer and his proto-feminist Mom. Williams is cuddly enough as the man whose talents for nurturing a family are constantly undermined by a malign fate, and there is a performance of some dignity from Lithgow as a six-and-a-half-foot ex-pro footballer transsexual. But it's the kind of movie which is brave - or stupid - enough to ask the meaning of life without having enough arse in its breeches to warrant a reply. CPea.