The Lost City is a 2022 American action-adventure comedy film directed by the Nee brothers, who co-wrote the screenplay with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox, from a story conceived by Seth Gordon.
A reclusive romance novelist on a book tour with her cover model gets swept up in a kidnapping attempt that lands them both in a cutthroat jungle adventure.
- Sandra Bullock
- Channing Tatum
- Daniel Radcliffe
Expecting a film like The Lost City to be rich with meaningful ideas and impactful motifs would be setting expectations way too high. That’s just not why people are attracted to romantic adventure films like this one. However, being pleasantly surprised that there is actually a theme – as slight as it is – beneath all the goofy shenanigans, is an added bonus and a much-welcomed ambush. Just one of several pleasant surprises.
That’s not to say it makes The Lost City a great film. It isn’t. However, its palpable chemistry, star-studded cast, dopey humor, and stunning jungle locations will provide enough charm and attraction to delight a broad swath of moviegoers. And maybe that’s just what the movie industry needs right now.
Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a once-thriving romance novelist currently struggling with anxiety following the unexpected death of her husband. She knows the latest novel in her “Lost City” series isn’t up to snuff, but her energetic publicist (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) sends her out on tour to promote it anyway. Accompanying her will be Alan (Channing Tatum), the doltish but charming cover model whose image graces the novels’ dust jackets.
Things get hairy, however, when Loretta is kidnapped by powerful billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who thinks Loretta’s novels hold the secret to the location of the coveted and valuable Crown of Fire from her novels. But it’s Alan to the rescue as he tracks them to an isolated island in the Atlantic where he hooks up with his meditation guru, Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to help rescue Loretta from the evil henchmen. By the way, Jack is also an ex-marine… and a mercenary, yet closely resembles the real-life action hero that Alan pretends to be in the novels
What follows is an endless stream of silly mishaps, close calls, and stupid happenstances that in any other movie would wreck the whole experience. But the chemistry and magnetism shared by Bullock and Tatum, coupled with the pair’s rat-a-tat-rat comedic delivery saves the whole thing. The remainder of the cast, including Radcliffe‘s bad guy and Pitt‘s hilarious cameo, is just hammy enough to fit in perfectly with the film’s tongue-in-cheek intentions.
In addition, there’s the unexpected thread of learning to never judge a book by its cover that ties everything together with an emotional resonance as we watch the romantic connection between the two blossoms. Yes, the jokes are stupid, and we are always one step ahead of the highly formulaic script. But, darn if the thing isn’t actually quite cute and tons of fun. It’s even hilarious at times with more than one laugh-out-loud moment.
Make no mistake, though. The Lost City won’t even come close to blowing your socks off. It does nothing new or original and its Romancing the Stone similarities can’t be denied nor can they be excused. But hats off to directors Adam and Aaron Nee for understanding what they have and for playing to those strengths. The Lost City is well structured and steadily paced even if it does play it way too safe most of the time. But most importantly, it will make you happy. What more could we ask for as theaters begin to ramp up for the summer movie season.
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