I finally had a chance to see Denise Calls Up after it had pretty much made its art-house rounds, but I thought I'd write a short review anyway.
The one-joke premise is this: seven friends in New York basically live their lives without ever really meeting. Instead, they talk on the phone. Dates are set, parties are planned, sex is had, even children are born -- but no one is there, in the physical sense.
For 80 minutes, we are treated to variations on one of the above scenes, often with funny-ironic results. The film is never really funny-ha-ha, but it never bores the viewer at all thanks to Hal Salwen's direction. I found myself hoping it would speed along at times, but that was basically because I had to (ironically) leave my apartment to meet some people in person -- and you can only watch so much of people talking on the phone. Still, it was a fun movie to watch, and I feel it would be great "just to have on," making it an excellent video purchase.
Stars Tim Daly, Caroleen Feeney (not a typo), Liev Schreiber (also not a typo), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Dan Gunther, Aida Turturro, and Alanna Ubach (who plays Denise, also not a typo), are all B- or C-list actors, but everyone does a fine job. No Oscars here, but no raspberries, either.
If you live one of these ultra-busy lives and never leave the house, Denise Calls Up is the film for you. If not, you may get a kick out of it anyway, but don't expect much more than a protracted phone call.
No other critics bother to show Alanna Ubach (Denise), so I did.