“I would like to go back to being your wife,” Mae Whitman says in an exclusive clip from Operator, a new film starring the Parenthood actress and Silicon Valley‘s Martin Starr. “And not your science experiment.”

The movie follows a computer programmer (Starr) who enlists his wife, a hotel concierge with an exceptionally soothing demeanor (Whitman), to help create a new voice for his company’s automated call system. It’s fun at first — until Joe starts favoring the robotic, pre-recorded version of Emily over the real her.

“I think there’s a codependence that isn’t healthy, which is what diverts the path and allows the creation of this new identity that he connects with,” Starr tells EW of the couple’s relationship. “He needs something from her that she decides she’s not willing to give anymore, and the way that that evolved is allowing something else to take over in her place, because he can control it better.”

As the clip above shows, that doesn’t work out so well. But the movie isn’t necessarily cynical about technology: “I think it’s hopeful,” Starr says. “I think more than anything, though, it asks a lot of questions.”

See the exclusive clip above. Operator — also featuring Nat Faxon, Retta, and Cameron Esposito — is now available on demand and on iTunes.

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