By Joe Neumaier
Updated November 01, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

Initially, Denise Calls Up, a slight comedy of phone-aholic New Yorkers seems too charmed by its main conceit — none of the characters speak face-to-face, much less leave their apartments — but it ultimately yields a well-played, high-concept farce. First-time director Hal Salwen has written something like an Off Broadway adaptation of a Seinfeld episode; despite the occasional tedium, the conversations ring true, and the constant close-ups are far less claustrophobic on video. The central idea that a couple (Liev Schreiber and Caroleen Feeney) could be set up by friends, have a relationship, and drift apart without ever meeting in person may be too self-consciously ’90s, but when Salwen’s quirky script clicks, it’s worth taking this call. B-

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