Wallace Shawn, the "I" of "My Dinner With Andre," should have borrowed a title from his father's magazine (William Shawn is editor of The New Yorker) and called it "Social Notes From All Over." The film, which consists entirely of talk at a restaurant table between Shawn and theatrical director Andre Gregory, appearing under their own names and speaking lines they both wrote based on their own experience, is an odd but hilarious example of a certain social form. Specifically, it's the luxurious existential anguish of the successful artist with enough time, money and freedom to afford the best. Ironically, one of the chief ingredients is the description of antics of theater people devising extravagant and playful rituals to make themselves feel alive in, as it happens, Poland -- an exercise occuring at about the same time and place as the Polish workers' struggle to form Solidarity. But that is a facile comparison, and one of the triumphs of "My Dinner with Andre" is the masterful way it demonstrates the facile mind. Andre does almost all of the talking. Over a quail dinner in an expensive New York restaurant, with Shawn pinned there like a Wedding Guest by a modern Ancient Mariner, he spins a tale of wanderings to Poland, India, the Sahara, in search of Meaning. The problem seems to be that we are all robots, not truly relating to one another. It's the way in which he announces this information, which one can imagine being simultaneously revealed in restaurants of a certain price range everywhere, that's dazzling: The worse the drivel, the more inspired Gregory becomes in telling it. His admiring description of the development of a Buddhist mystic he has taken into his family, and seen adding hidden Gucci loafers to his costume, is alone worth the price of admission (or quail). Shawn plays the schlub. Mostly, he just sits there with a furrowed brow, expressive of interest. When he raises a forkful of food to his mouth, Gregory is denouncing appetite; when he uses his new electric blanket as an example of simple pleasure, Gregory turns it into a symbol of shutting out reality; when he's trapped into expressing surprise ("You have a swastika on your flag?") he sets himself up for a putdown ("A Tibetan swastika!"). At one moment, he rises to modest eloquence in defense of the ordinary life, citing, as its pleasures, reading Charlton Heston's biography and checking off completed errands in his notebook. Gregory, he says, cuts off the roots and branches of the normally involved life, and "a tree without branches or roots would be a log." This film never moves from the restaurant table. The talk, deft as it is, never moves, either. The characters will obviously not develop as a result of what was said. But we do have the suspense of not knowing, until the very end, who will get the check. MY DINNER WITH ANDRE -- At the K-B Janus.