The Lost City takes us back to the lost art of action comedies with a touch of having massively attractive leads to face many amounts of danger. It’s been a while, of at least one that won’t be entirely forgettable like the ones we’ve seen in the early 2010s. And with directors Adam and Aaron Nee (Band of Robbers) coming out of the gate with romp, that doesn’t get many points in the originality department. However, this is the kind of studio comedy worth the trip to the movies since it’s so much better than having it be seen on streaming when its star will draw in that box office money.
What’s the Story: Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a romance novelist who starts to lose interest with her bestselling adventure series featuring the hero Dash, whose cover model is a man named Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum). After the recent death of her husband, she had become a reclusive person in trying to get the ending chapter a fitting end. Unfortunately, her latest book tour, “The Lost City of D,” doesn’t go as planned when the audience is more interested in seeing Alan shirtless and less explanatory answers from Loretta. She soon gets kidnapped by billionaire mogul Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) since he has been obsessing with finding the real lost city Loretta wrote about and took her over to the Atlantic to claim the treasure known as the Crown of Fire. Despite having no experience in saving lives, Alan takes it upon himself to rescue Loretta and survive the jungle without getting killed.
This isn’t going for the big blockbuster we’ve been getting recently when all this is gaining to hope is a nice throwback to the past’s exciting adventure movies that make you feel less stressed out about life. Hearing about this sounded too familiar with the classic Romancing the Stone, which will be on everyone’s mind without question. The influence is there, but I guess the main difference is we have a main male character who doesn’t know his way around the cutthroat world of the jungle and Loretta has the knowledge of ancient history and archaeology. Even so, it’s nothing more than watching two people who don’t exactly get along with each other out of the jungle, an area where they are out of their element to be in. And for them, they’re on an accidental trip as if they’ve become a part of Loretta’s story come to life.
But you go into The Lost City to see Bullock and Tatum embrace the funny side of them we’ve waited a long time to see on-screen again, and what a great pairing to fall for throughout. Watching them trench the greens and ramble about the silliest of things made it easy to like their respective characters. Bullock is still one of my favorite actresses, and it’s been four years since her last film went to theaters (the lackluster Ocean’s 8) since her last two went to Netflix. But we often forget she can be funny, as seen in The Proposal and The Heat. Someone like her character of Loretta needs excitement in her life, while this is not what she expected and to be not wearing a rented pink sequined jumpsuit the entire time. And Tatum proves why the comedic bones in his body haven’t left him since he was in 21 Jump Street 10 years ago. Alan isn’t the most intelligent person in the world, but he does mean well in being charming. He knows there’s more to him underneath the beautiful fake wig and model persona to take seriously. If the two of them failed at their chemistry, the whole movie would’ve failed.
Daniel Radcliffe playing the villainous role is a good change of pace from what we usually see from him, which isn’t so much in anything lately. While he wasn’t as well-developed as I had wanted, his portrayal as Fairfax surprised me with this objective that had me seeing him in more of these parts in the future, indicating he left a solid impression in this role. Da’vine Joy Randolph gets her due as Loretta’s dedicated publicist Beth and is stressing out about finding her client. Yes, Brad Pitt appears as Jack Trainer, a former Navy Seal turned CIA operative, in a brief but notable role. Did I want more of him? You bet, but he perhaps had the best scene in the entire movie with the hardest needle drop to remember with the limited screen time.
The laughter gets to you and the audience I saw it with during my attended screening. There aren’t the kinds of jokes to think really hard about, but if a comedy makes you laugh more than a few times after half an hour in, it succeeds. Some of them were a bit weak around the second act, where I was mostly silent with the few attempts they tried. The one moment that will not fail to be hilarious after everyone leaves was when Bullock had to pick leeches off of Tatum’s body, which was only their second day of filming. Because if you think they’ll be found on his back, there’s more to it I saw coming but made me crack up the whole time.
The script and the Nee brothers’ direction don’t try to hold many stakes since it holds mainly for being a predictable and ridiculous plot. And it doesn’t allow itself to take itself seriously unless you find yourself becoming significantly invested in Loretta and Alan finding the treasure before the bad guys do when it’s meant to harken back to the adventure genre. But if you already know what you’re in for around the formulaic storyline surrounding everything, you’ll have nothing but a good time because I sure did.
Overall, The Lost City is familiar in parts, but it managed to be a fun, adventurous comedy reminiscent of similar movies from the past. It’s far from perfect, but Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s dynamic does hold the film together and it got a lot of laughs out of me. This isn’t going to be looked at to win any major awards, but it’s enjoyable to escape for a couple hours.
Grade: (7/10) B
The Lost City is set to hit only in theaters on March 25. Runtime: 112 Minutes. Studio: Paramount Pictures