The film follows Davis Mitchell (Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, whose father-in-law, Phil (played by Chris Cooper), expects him to buck up after his wife’s tragic and sudden death. However, Davis’ grieving process takes an unusual turn when he writes a complaint letter to a vending machine company after one of their machines fails to dispense the Peanut M&Ms he paid for.
The letter leads to an increasingly personal correspondence with a women in the customer service department (played by Naomi Watts). She and her son (Judah Lewis) become involved in Davis’ attempt to rebuild his life by dismantling everything first — including his house.
The trailer shows Davis’ life both before and after the accident, with the complaint letter being read in voice over for much of it. After his wife’s death, he realizes that she was right to say that he didn’t “pay attention” enough. This drives him to follow some philosophical advice previously offered by Phil: in order to fix something “you have to take everything apart and figure out what’s important.”
Though a drama, the film has lighthearted moments as well, as shown in the trailer. In one of the letters, Davis writes that he didn’t think his father-in-law liked him at first because he wasn’t very ambitious. And “also, he told me once, ‘I don’t like you, Davis,'” he adds. There’s also humor in the demolition of the house. “You can buy almost anything on e-Bay,” jokes Davis about a bulldozer.
Demolition will be released in theaters on April 8, 2016.