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Is There Just 'Two Weeks to Live'?
November 5, 2020  | By David Hinckley

You can provoke a lively discussion by asking people what they would do if they learned that, for one reason or another, they had only two weeks to live.

Most people would think about it for a few minutes. Kim Noakes (Maisie Williams, top) has no such hesitation in Two Weeks To Live, an imported Brit comedy that becomes available here Thursday on HBO Max.

Kim has a gun. She wants to kill someone. And she knows exactly whom.

Okay, let's back up a bit here because the "kill" part does impact the "comedy" part in Two Weeks To Live. Call it a dark comedy, somewhat removed from the two standard Brit styles of humor: droll and slapstick.

Kim, who just turned 21, has spent most of her life being raised in a cold backwoods Scottish cabin by her mother, Tina (Sian Clifford). Tina is a survivalist who lives off the land and off-the-grid as much as possible, and she has raised Kim with a similar worldview: that pretty much everything out there is bad, and at any minute one of those bad things will almost certainly obliterate life as we know it.

One impetus for Tina's hard-line take on the foibles of humanity is that her husband, Kim's father, was killed when Kim was very young – but not so young Kim didn't understand what was happening, since it happened right in front of her.

The murderer, Jimmy Davis (Sean Pertwee), apparently was confident he would get away with it. When he did, Tina carted Kim away to Scotland and cut her off from the rest of the world, in the name of protection.

Now Kim has turned 21, and she decides it's time for a field trip without Mom. She borrows their rickety old survivalist car and heads for northern England where she expects she will have a few random adventures and then find Jimmy Davis.

The comedy part comes largely from the social gaps in Kim's upbringing. While she has seen a handful of movies many times and read some books and magazines, she has little experience in actual human contact. For instance: She knows that when you go out, you put on makeup and wear high heels, except she's never worn high heels, so she walks like someone who has, well, never worn high heels.

Nonetheless, she wobbles into a tavern, where she promptly meets a couple of goofball brothers. Nicky (Mawaan Rizwan) is kind of a good old boy who wants to rev up a landscaping business, while Jay (Taheen Modak) went to college and yearns to go to London and do something with his brain.

Jay is also as socially inept as Kim, so they hit it off. After a few drinks, Nicky decides to pull a practical joke on Kim while they're talking. He programs a fake website to break the "news" that the world will end in two weeks.

Kim, having been raised to expect this, buys in immediately, which is where the "what would you do if you had two weeks to live" part kicks in.

Things get a little slapstick sometimes as Kim, Nicky, Jay, and Jimmy, not to mention a few incidental players, find Nicky's joke has triggered a whole string of potentially unfunny consequences.

It's a fresh enough premise that viewers will have a hard time figuring exactly where Two Weeks to Live is going, which is, of course, the fun of watching. Williams, best known lately from Game of Thrones, plays Kim delightfully, keeping a straight face as she slides with ease from naïve newcomer to trained survivor.

Two Weeks To Live runs six half-hour episodes. Regard them as if you only had two weeks to watch.

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