Denise Calls Up (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Denise Calls Up (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
PG-13 (adult situations)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Alanna Ubach
as Denise
Tim Daly
as Frank
Dan Gunther
as Martin
Sylvia Miles
as Gale's Aunt
Jean-Claude La Marre
as The Cab Driver
Mark Blum
as Dr. Brennen
Hal Salwen
as Jerry as a Little Boy
Show More Cast

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.

Full Review… | June 19, 2006
Top Critic

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

October 16, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

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.

January 1, 2000
The New Republic
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Denise Calls Up

6.5/10. Imaginative and different, refreshing performances. The film makes an interesting point. Nicely edited, very well written. It doesn't work completely, but works well enough to make it very entertaining. Good direction by Hal Salwen. He developed the characters nicely.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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