By Terry Kelleher
May 06, 2002 12:00 PM

Independent Film Channel (Mondays, 8 p.m. ET)

Politically Incorrect minus politics plus a meal equals Dinner for Five. The talk show, which premiered in mid-April, is the brainchild of actor-filmmaker Jon Favreau (Made, Swingers). In each of eight scheduled episodes, Favreau and his celebrity guests dine at a real restaurant in the Los Angeles area, chatting about the movie business and who knows what else. The expectation is that food and informality will be conducive to lively conversation.

The series got off to a promising start with the well-mixed group of Garry Shandling, Vince Vaughn, Cheri Oteri and Peter Falk. The second panel—Jeff Goldblum, Christian Slater, Illeana Douglas and Fred Willard—was even more congenial. You really got the feeling that a good time was had by all. On April 29, however, old-timer Rod Steiger’s anecdotes don’t blend with the jokes of Kevin Pollak and Sarah Silverman—though it is funny when Steiger disrupts Pollak’s timing by loudly stirring a drink. The undercooked May 6 repast has rocker Marilyn Manson and Andy Dick amusing themselves with talk of porn and drugs while Daryl Hannah looks faintly uncomfortable. A place is set for a fourth guest but he fails to show up. Now that’s unpredictable television.

Bottom Line: Taste varies widely