Dopamine is the highly pleasurable brain chemical that gets triggered by feelings of love. There is not, however, a lot of dopamine in ”Dopamine,” a melancholy romance that has the distinction of being the first film set among San Francisco dotcommers that knows it’s about the end of the boom. Rand (John Livingston), a computer dude too sensitive to smile, is part of a team that has created an animated screen character for kids -? a virtual reactive bird named, all too appropriately, Koy Koy. Rand meets Sarah (Sabrina Lloyd), a teacher who matches up with him in mopitude. ”I’ve got some holes to fill,” she says. ”I’m not sure intelligence is the answer.” Every college geek who has yet to have a love affair will nod his head at this wisdom.
Livingston and Lloyd, who’s a dead ringer for Kate Jackson, are attractive actors, and the director, Mark Decena, does a nice job of using the fortunes of Rand’s software team to catch the moment when the boom went bust. But the dilemmas in ”Dopamine” – Can Rand acknowledge that feelings are feelings? Will Sarah let him fill her holes? – made me want to reach for the serotonin reuptake inhibitors.