Denise Calls Up (1996)


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Movie Info

Thanks to the technological marvels of wireless phones, answering machines, the internet, and e-mail, it is no longer necessary actually to see anyone you know, and seven friends have taken this notion to its logical extreme in this comedy. Linda (Aida Turturro) throws a birthday party and to her dismay, none of her friends show up. The next day, while making phone calls with several acquaintances (none of whom ever meet face to face), Linda hears the same excuse from everyone: they were busy with work and tied up on the phone. Denise (Alanna Ubach), meanwhile, is pregnant, and she decides to call the father, Martin (Dan Gunther), whom she's never met; he made what he thought was an anonymous donation to a sperm bank, and he isn't so sure he wants to be part of the parenting process. Gale (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) wants to set up a blind date between her friend Barbara (Caroleen Feeney) and Jerry (Liev Schreiber), who exchange photos via fax machine. The group ends up having a wake via conference call when one of their friends dies in a car accident, while talking on a cellular phone, of course. Denise Calls Up was the directorial debut for screenwriter Hal Salwen.


Critic Reviews for Denise Calls Up

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8)

A minor but quirkily charming comedy about alientaion, love, and folly that reflects the zeitgeist in terms of AIDS and modern technology.

Jun 19, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
Top Critic

Salwen has captured and properly identified a very particular modern American species. His emergence as a filmmaker is a true event.

Oct 16, 2002

At only 80 minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome, but slight though it may be, it knows how to create constant smiles.

Feb 14, 2001 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

It's hard to care about a movie story in which the characters never meet one another or really care about one another.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Might have been more effective if the writer/director had taken the time to create characters imbued with more than token traces of humanity.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

After a while, besides enjoying the stories as such, we begin to enjoy the film's trickiness, almost all on the phone, as a sort of high-wire act.

Jan 1, 2000

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