Denise Calls Up  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Denise Calls Up is an American comedy released in 1996. Written and directed by Hal Salwen, it has an ensemble cast which includes Liev Schreiber, Timothy Daly, and Alanna Ubach. The plot revolves around a group of friends in New York City who, while working at their PCs and laptops and keeping in touch by phone and fax, never seem to be able to get together.



A tale of 1990s alienation and urban detachment, the plot revolves around a group of friends in New York who work away at their PCs and laptops and keep in touch exclusively by phone and fax as they are all too busy to meet face to face.


Linda (Aida Turturro) wakes up one morning to her ringing phone. Her friend, Gale (Dana Wheeler Nicholson) wants to know how her party went last night. To her dismay, Linda tells her that no one showed up. "Not a one." Thus begins Denise Calls Up, the story of seven friends living in New York City who no longer find it necessary to actually meet face to face due to the new age of the internet and wireless phones. But Gale is less upset about the absolute absenteeism, than about the fact that her friend Barbara (Caroleen Feeney) never got to meet Jerry (Liev Schreiber). Gale has been trying to set them up. So she calls Barbara, chastising her for not making it to Linda's and goading her into meeting Jerry. After protesting that she's just been too busy, Barbara eventually acquiesces. Meanwhile, Denise (Alanna Ubach), who has gotten pregnant by an anonymous sperm insemination, locates the donor, Martin (Dan Gunther) and decides to call him. And so it goes, as the characters, via phone and fax, duck and miss each other time after time, using one excuse after the other to avoid meetings, births, and even a funeral until, finally, Frank (Tim Daly) determined to finally get everyone together, plans a New Year's Eve party. All swear that they will be there.


Actor Role
Timothy Daly Frank Oliver
Caroleen Feeney Barbara Gorton
Dan Gunther Martin Weiner
Dana Wheeler-Nicholson Gale Donelly
Liev Schreiber Jerry Heckerman
Aida Turturro Linda
Alanna Ubach Denise Devaro
Sylvia Miles Sharon, Gail's Aunt
Jean-Claude La Marre Dalton Philips, cab driver (as Jean LaMarre)
Mark Blum Dr. Brennan, Obstetrician
Hal Salwen Jerry as a Little Boy


Rotten Tomatoes rated the film as "Certified Fresh" giving it a 77% positive rating based on 25 reviews, with Janet Maslin of The New York Times writing that "Mr. Salwen's storytelling gambit may sound like a stunt, but he does a remarkably agile job of sustaining it throughout a sunny 80-minute comedy." and Stanley Kauffman of The New Republic writing, "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."


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Denise Calls Up" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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