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ever feel you're spending your whole life on the net ( ouch ! ) , eating , breathing and excreting web sites ?
that your most meaningful relationships are being formed on the net ?
that you get your best sex on the net ?
if first-time director hal salwen could shoot an entire movie of characters typing at their computers , he would .
as it is , he settles for characters talking on the phone .
denise calls up is a movie for and about the electronic generation , where characters are too caught up with their work and insecurities prefer to live out their relationships and fantasies on the phone .
it's a satire - and a sometimes funny one - about how we let handphones , call-waiting and answering machines run our lives .
the problem : denise calls up is a movie about an idea .
a darn good one , but still an 80 minute-long idea .
and despite salwen's attempt at plots and sub-plots , despite some genuinely funny moments , you can predict the movie's outcome within the first fifteen minutes .
you get the drift after a series of shots of characters explaining over the phone why they all couldn't make it for a party - nobody is going to be meeting anybody in this film , they would rather be talking on the phone .
here's salwen's plot : while all the characters are in a dysfunctional , telefixated limbo , loud quirky stranger denise calls up martin to announce that she is pregnant with his child , courtesy of the sperm he donated to the local bank .
as martin progresses from slamming the phone on her to long phone conversations over the baby's name , his friends - and his friends' friends - get involved , courtesy of call-waiting and double-lines .
in the tigher and more tantalizing sub-plot , barbara and jerry are set up on a blind date that neither turns up for .
both profess to have too complicated schedules to ever meet , but they get it going over the phone .
with repeated phone sex comes a glitch ; what if the other person is simply faking it ?
denise calls up scores with some inspired moments .
mousy barbara metamorphoses into a vamp over her cordless , everyone shares the excitement of denise's delivery through a conference call to her handphone , and barbara's best friend gale is killed in a car accident while taling animatedly into another friend's answering machine .
( as gale's overly-chatty aunt recounts , her cordless was knicked into her ear and lodged in her brain . )
but these moments are not enough to sustain the movie .
the pace sags , the dialogue drags and not much acting appears to be required of the telephone-touters .
and the ending is literally a non-event as expected , everyone is too chicken to turn up for the party frank throws in gale's memory despite promising over the phone that they will .
we get the point .
the movie appears to be intent on flogging its terribly-'90s statement until they have it coming out of your ears .
pun intended .
there's even a on the movie's web site where you can win cellular phones ( as if we haven't had enough of these things already ) .
watch the movie only if you find it philosophy compelling enough for a earful .
the flying inkpot's rating system : * wait for the video .
* * a little creaky , but still better than staying at home with gotcha !
* * * pretty good , bring a friend .
* * * * amazing , potent stuff .
* * * * * perfection .
see it twice .
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