The Lost City is an action-comedy released in 2022. It stars Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum as a romance novelist and her cover model, who must escape a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) and find the lost ancient city described in one of her books. The film co-stars Da’Vine Joy Randolph, with cameo appearances by Brad Pitt and Stephen Lang.
The movie’s plot involves Dr. Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) who writes romance-adventure novels centered around a fictional heroine, Dr. Angela Lovemore, and her romantic interest, Dash McMahon (played by Channing Tatum). To promote the latest book on Lovemore, her publisher, Beth Hatten, insists that Loretta embark on a book tour with Alan Caprison, the book’s cover model for Dash, despite her reclusiveness since the death of her husband.
After a disastrous start, mostly due to the popularity of Alan’s Dash persona, Loretta is taken by Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), a billionaire who realizes that Loretta based her books on actual historic research she did with her late archaeologist husband. He discovered a lost city on a remote Atlantic island and is convinced the Crown of Fire, a priceless treasure, is located there. When she declines to help decipher an ancient map to the treasure, Fairfax, fearing an active volcano will destroy the site, chloroforms and takes Loretta to the island.
Alan, who is secretly enamored with Loretta, witnesses her kidnapping. He recruits Jack Trainer (played by Brad Pitt), a former Navy SEAL turned CIA operative, to meet him on the island and coordinate a rescue. Jack, with no assistance from Alan, breaches Fairfax’s compound and frees Loretta, but is shot in the head before they can make it to the airport, forcing Loretta and Alan to escape into the jungle and their crazy adventure begins.
As a Jungle movie, it can be compared to The Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson. However, the movie succeeds despite the simple plot as unlike Jungle Cruise, it plays to the strengths of its actors and doesn’t take itself seriously. Sandra Bullock plays characters with a proverbial stick-up-their-butt quite well, only to be swept away off her feet by the guy she never liked (The Proposal anyone?). Channing Tatum basically looks pretty and dumb as he always does like in the Jump Street series. Brad Pitt comes, is awesome and then dies, similar to his cameo in Deadpool 2. Daniel Radcliffe still is hard to accept in anything but Harry Potter and especially not as a villain. However, despite the predictability, the actors bring entertainment in large doses including Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Beth Hatten, Loretta’s publisher, who is responsible for most of the laughs in the movie.
We also have Oscar from The Office, playing the caricature of a random Hispanic man and is neither funny, nor to be taken seriously in his comments about being friends with a goat. Channing Tatum is funny by accident through his dialogues and his interactions with Sandra Bullock is the real reason for the success of the movie including a hilarious leech scene. Tatum also doesn’t disappoint his female fans by taking off his shirt and pants whenever it is possible. Channing Tatum is great casting for a role like this on several levels; not only does he look like he belongs on the cover of a romance paperback, he’s also an actor who understands his own appeal and has proven time and again that he isn’t afraid to play it for laughs.
Sandra Bullock is composed and serious but ends up loosening up due to the situation around her. Together with Tatum, the pair exude fun and a sense of affection that’s easy to get caught up in.
The movie has some wonderful locales and hilarious scenes and is a good movie to enjoy after a stressful day at work. Beyond that if you are trying to analyze the movie in some deeper sense, please stop. Now. The Lost City has no layers and it’s not supposed to have one. It has one job and it does it well – to entertain. The actors, despite the presence of two Oscar winners and Harry Potter, know this as well and don’t go beyond what is needed. The movie does have its share of cliches with the damsel in distress narrative although with the damsel being 15 years older than the hero trying to save her. Regarding the villain, there is a lack of seriousness about Daniel Radcliffe as a villain – even with a gun, it’s hard to see any real threat emanating from him. Radcliffe is the only element of the movie that doesn’t work quite as well as the rest.
“The Lost City” isn’t an especially unique film; its premise draws on countless adventure movies. Its punchlines are recognizable from a distance as the volcano dominating the remote island where most of the story takes place. But this familiarity offers a sense of comfort and which is why the movie succeeds. The makers of the movie deliver an undeniably charming romantic romp. This is a movie you watch in the theater, with popcorn, then again and again on streaming, with a glass of wine. Ultimately, “The Lost City” is interested in ticking all the boxes viewers’ demand head on. It does so in a somewhat obvious way, but with an amount of care that’s sure to ensure repeat viewings.
Go watch The Lost City – a decent entertainer and a light-hearted silly movie which doesn’t try to be anything else.