A Swinger and Four Drunks

Jon Favreau serves up Dinner for Five

Things learned from the season premiere of Dinner for Five, the Jon Favreau-hosted Independent Film Channel production in which the Swingerswriter-star invites famous pals to spill infamous tales: Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats) and Favreau once feuded via the Internet over allegedly disparaging things the latter once said about the former in a Detroit weekly newspaper; Irishman Colin Farrell (Minority Report) is damned incomprehensible after (and, likely, well before) a few adult beverages; Jennifer Garner (Alias) gets, like, all nervous and stuff when she has to audition for a part; and Smith, Ben Affleck and Farrell could curse and chain-smoke anyone under the table. (Even through a TV screen, you can just smell the Marlboro Lights on 'em.) Oh, and Kevin Smith is the most self-deprecating andself-aggrandizing filmmaker of his generation; maybe he just saw Jay and Silent Bob Strike Backand realized, yup, big mistake.

But I don't watch Dinner for Five for the revelations that crop up in expletive-laden, alcohol-drenched conversation; actors don't let you in on their secrets (even if their secret is they have no secret) when the TV cameras are rolling, and there are always two hovering over this gang while dining in one of Los Angeles' more fab eateries (and always in a cordoned-off section, thus underscoring their power and fame and fabness). I watch it for the catty asides, for the in-jokes only they get (something about how David Schwimmer was more famous in England than Affleck before the release of Good Will Hunting, or something), for the sight of famous people goofing on each other. In Episode Two, Richard Lewis and Dom DeLuise--and when did you ever think they'd make the same sentence?--get all catty, or Catskillsy; Dean and Jerry had nothing on these two.

These people love each other, love being famous, love talking about the pitfalls of fame (too many autograph hounds, those skeezy grubbers), love talking about the movie business like it's hard work, love goofing on other celebrities, even love goofing on themselves to make them appear more affable. After watching Episode One, yeah, you kinda do want to hang out with Affleck and his Daredevilco-stars, if only because you're convinced at the end of the night you'll wind up puking in an alley with Farrell, who will console you with something like, "Fookingallrightdermategoodshowwannanundderwunheheh," while lighting your cigarette with his breath.

Made for eating: Jon Favreau hosts his celeb pals for Dinner, and you're invited to clean up.
Made for eating: Jon Favreau hosts his celeb pals for Dinner, and you're invited to clean up.

Details

Dinner for Five's second season debuts January 20 on the Independent Film Channel at 7 p.m.

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It's all such inconsequential nonsense to us, the lowly outsider who, ahem, idolizes from afar, but of great importance to them: Carrie Fisher, now looking and sounding a great deal like a great aunt of mine who chain-smoked her way into an iron lung, opens Episode Four by describing her annual birthday bash blowout; she goes into extensive detail about her post-mental hospital shindig, decorated with IV bags and a Princess Leia standee on a gurney. You just shrug and wonder, "Why can't I be there? Why can't I be fabulous? And who the hell invited 15 Minutesdirector John Herzfeld to sit with Peter Falk and Lewis and DeLuise?" Sooner or later, of course, it all gets back to Swingersand what a great movie it was and how it was so expensive-looking for such a cheapo affair--the 13-episode series, now in its second "season," plays like a very long infomercial for the Swingersand Madedouble-disc DVD--but, hey, Favreau's footing the bill. (As if.)

IFC only sent the first four episodes--the second's the best, if only to hear Falk talk (again) about John Cassavetes--but the fifth, airing February 17, and sixth, the next week, already have my celeb weenie tingling: On the former, Janeane Garofalo and Dave Eggers share the table with David Byrne and Joe Pantoliano, and on the latter, Eddie Izzard and Will Ferrell dine with Illeana Douglas and Pootie Tangdirector Louis CK. (That's right--Pootie Tang, dang it!) It's a match made at L'Orangerie.

 
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