By Thom Geier
Updated November 28, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

While it’s easy to understand why Miramax’s publishing division would buy a debut fiction collection from ”Variety” editor Peter Bart, innocent readers need not follow suit. His stories read like studio coverage of cliche-ridden scripts, padded with dialogue that sounds the same no matter what straw figure is speaking (both a movie-star lothario and the flight attendant he hits on refer to her as a ”stew”). When not merely laughable, Bart’s scenarios are surprisingly implausible (a lesbian production chief using gay epithets) and error-laden (a director flying to L.A. to meet with New York-based Sony Classics). And despite rare throwaway lines like ”Sly Stallone has had more work done than Joan Rivers,” ”Company” is less dishy than disheveled.