There are worse things than death to look forward to, like having to sit through The Barbarian Invasions a second time. Essentially a how-to-die cine-manual for the illiterate, Two Weeks observes what happens when a group of siblings come together to watch their mother die from cancer over the course of the film’s titular time span. Writer-director Steve Stockman crudely alternates between comedy and drama but, to his credit, he doesn’t pander to privileged sensibilities or shoehorn obscene post-9/11 commentary into his narrative. Sally Field is wildly self-conscious during footage her character’s eldest son records prior to her looming death march, but she doesn’t ham it up for Oscar approval like Javier Bardem did in The Sea Inside. In productions such as these that don’t take pains to distinguish themselves from the other indie flotsam clogging up the multiplexes, it’s easy to become sidetracked by, say, Ben Chapman’s resemblance to Bardem. Other distractions include Field’s Boniva commercial (the style of which is suggested by the actress’s conversations to the camera), Clea Duvall riding into town with all of the fury of the hurricane her character seems to have been named after, and Tom Cavanagh yaking up a storm as usual and cleaning up Field’s upchuck to a tune that’s probably titled “Cleaning Up The Feces That Just Came Out Of My Mother’s Mouth” on the movie’s soundtrack. Stockman piles cliché atop cliché to the bitter end, but there’s some genuineness to this messy little film’s vision of grief gripping and challenging its characters. The same can’t be said for the film’s desperate comic bits, none of which stick with you with the possible exception of Stockman’s attempt to change the way we think about the phrase “blow me.”
- 97 min
- Steve Stockman
- Steve Stockman
- Sally Field, Ben Chapman, Tom Cavanagh, Julianne Nicholson, Glenn Howerton, Clea Duvall
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: