We have here a nice, if rather dark, “meet cute” premise. Jake Gyllenhaal has just lost his wife in a car accident that has left him without a scratch. In the hospital he tries to buy a package of candy from one of those vending machines with the spiral racks. The spiral turns, and the candy fails to drop. For some reason he fixates on this, and begins writing a series of sort of pissed-off letters to the vending machine company. How dare you deprive me of candy when my wife has just died! At the same time, he vents other feelings about his life. All these letters wind up on the desk of Naomi Watts, who is the whole complaint department at the company, which is not exactly General Motors. She is touched, and calls him, and they talk, and eventually meet.
She has a fifteen-year-old son who has an almost terminal case of teenage assholeness. They don’t exactly hit it off, until his other obsession kicks in. He becomes determined to find out how things work, or something like that. He starts off by dismantling a refrigerator, then moves on to everything else. Soon he is battering down walls and windows with a sledge hammer, and eventually he has a bulldozer. The kid, naturally, is into this. In the process of destroying his house and his old life (I guess this is a metaphor for something) he learns more about his dead wife than he wanted to know.
While the wheels didn’t completely come off here, it was running on a couple of flats as far as I was concerned. It just didn’t all seem to fit together. Much as I respect these two actors, I didn’t really enjoy this movie.