Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Lost City

There's a scene in The Lost City where romance cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), his hired mercenary (Brad Pitt), and captured romance novelist Loretta (Sandra Bullock), who is tied to a chair inside a wheelbarrow, are all racing from the background explosions of the jungle encampment of a rich madman (Daniel Radcliffe) while pop music plays. That scene perfectly incapsulates the kind of dumb fun The Lost City provides.

The setup involves archeologist turned romance novelist whose novels are all based somewhat on historical locations and treasures. She's kidnapped by a rich billionaire from a book signing (wearing a ridiculous costume she'll be forced to keep for nearly the entire film) who believes she may hold the key to finding the real treasure she has written about in her schlocky romance series for years.

Her unlikely rescuer is the Fabio-esque model whose fame has come from appearing on the covers of each of her novels, which have been getting harder and harder to finish since the death of her husband. Tatum is well-cast here as the dimwitted Alan who turns out to be smarter than anyone gives him credit for (especially Loretta). Bullock is fun here as the damaged writer who has shunned the outside world but is dragged back into it kicking and screaming, first by her book tour and then by the unexpected adventure that seems to spring directly out the pages of one of her books.

The Lost City borrows from other films of the genre including Romancing the Stone and, in the subplot of Loretta's agent searching on her own for her client, quite reminiscent of Matthew McConaughey in Tropic Thunder, we get Da'Vine Joy Randolph making her own way to the small jungle island in the middle of nowhere. While we get some solving of clues and the inevitable hidden tomb, the film is more about Alan and Loretta working together to stay alive while being pursued by the various minions of the Bond-like villain obsessed with obtaining his goal.

While far from the smartest film of its genre, The Lost City nevertheless entertains, often bordering on parody. Bullock, who fought for her character to be stuck in heels in the jungle, knows exactly what kind of film she's making as do the supporting cast. If he wants it, Radcliffe may have a future as a B-movie villain. The only point where the film stretches credibility too far is in the mid-credit sequence which feels like a half-assed attempt to potentially set up a sequel. While that left a bit of a bade taste in my mouth, and the film could use a bit more brains in the treasure hunting portion of the story, The Lost City still offers the kind of big dumb fun that can offer a momentary distraction for audiences.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Lost City
  • IMDb: link

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