Very few actors handle attractive AND awkward better than Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. Take them and put them in a modern-day style “Romancing the Stone,” and you get Aaron and Adam Nee’s first real big film with “The Lost City”. (By the way, these are the guys that are attached to the often-delayed-and-now-set-for-2024 “Masters of the Universe” film.)
Bullock plays Loretta Sage, a widowed romance novelist whose books have worldwide fame. However, she is running out of creative gas with her latest book that she claims is her last. When her publisher, Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph from “My Name is Dolomite” and “The Last O.G.”), sets her up on a book tour, Sage ends up humiliating herself and her cover model, Alan (Tatum). After they have a backstage argument, Sage is kidnapped and brought before rich boy Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who has realized the truth in the treasure that Loretta writes about in her latest book. He brings her to a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean where he believes the famed “crown of fire” is hidden. Alan, realizing he said some things he shouldn’t have, decides to rescue her with the help of a guru he met at a retreat (Brad Pitt… this is not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer).
If you are looking for a date movie that has something for BOTH parties, this is the film. This is one of those situations where a film is better than it has to be. With its star power alone, one could safely assume that is worth the price of admission; even more it actually kept my attention the entire two-hours I was in my seat. There are obvious parallels to the Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglas film (short of a Billy Ocean hit with Danny DeVito playing a baritone saxophone… if you don’t know, look it up) but not to the point where it felt like a re-hash of that film or its sequel in “Jewel of the Nile”. “The Lost City” stands on its own as a rom-com (more the latter than the former, but enough to qualify) that had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
Unlike some other films I have seen recently, the pacing to “The Lost City” works well. I would have expected it to be a bit shorter, but it doesn’t feel like there is a lot of “fluff” to the script. I am sure there is a bit that could have been shored up here and there but not enough for me to feel weighed down by it. Also as expected, Bullock and Tatum work well together without forced chemistry as they let the performances themselves fuel the script with a kind of natural that doesn’t ramp the cheese factor to eleven. There is enough action to keep the adrenaline junkies at least comfortable in their seats and enough heart to not bore those on that side of the film spectrum as well while I still spent a bit of time wondering why Radcliffe with a beard looks like a mini version of Zach Galifianakis. He also really works well as the villain with a subtlety in his evil that evolves and darkens just enough as the story gets deeper.
It would be easy to dismiss “The Lost City” when looking at your entertainment options but to do so has a greater-than-zero-percent chance of making an error. Put simply, this is a film that knows what it is and stays in its lane, and that is not a bad thing. If this is Bullock’s swan song as rumors may think it is, she goes out on a high note; this is not to say I am good with it being as such, but if so this was one heck of a run by one of my favorites within my lifetime.