The Lost City

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Lost City
"The Lost City proves just how much extra mileage you can get from a well-worn premise if you get the casting right." | Photo: Paramount Pictures

Mining the same sort of romantic adventure comedy as Romancing The Stone and Indiana Jones, The Lost City proves just how much extra mileage you can get from a well-worn premise if you get the casting right. Sandra Bullock - who has always shown an aptitude for physical comedy in the likes of Miss Congeniality - is perfect as an intellectual writer, reclusive since the loss of her husband, who it's clear feels she's lowering herself a bit by writing steamy romance novels.

I'm personally enjoying the recent trend for female stars to get younger male romantic opportunities on screen in a marked move away from the usual traditions and Channing Tatum (16 years younger than 57-year-old Bullock) is a great choice as lovable lunk Alan, aka Dash, the star of all her novel covers. The casting fun extends to Daniel Radcliffe, obviously having a whale of a time as bearded billionaire villain Abigail Fairfax, who kidnaps Loretta, and a delightful cameo Brad Pitt in Hair Metal Mode as the man Alan enlists to help rescue the novelist. Da'Vine Joy Randolph also delivers all the lines she gets as Loretta's indomitable publicist friend Beth with exocet precision but she feels rather under-served by the writers.

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Although some of the comedy is fairly predictable - such as Loretta getting stuck in the jungle in heels and a glittery jumpsuit - writer/directors Adam and Aaron Nee and their team are quite savvy about how it's employed, making sure if there's any objectification to be done here, it will be of Alan not her - to which end, Tatum gamely strips off at an appropriate moment.

The plot is workmanlike and the action sequences get mileage from contrast, for example, when Pitt's mercenary killing everyone as Alan haplessly tries to help. The characters are also consistently likeable and Bullock and Tatum give zing to those zingers but I did wish they hadn't always gone for the most obvious joke. A bit more old-fashioned Katharine Hepburn/Cary Grant style screwball spark and a few more serious moments between the two leads wouldn't have gone a miss as when they do get the opportunity to turn up the romance levels, the film also delivers. It's almost as though the writers were scared to let the romance out in case it dampened the laughs rather than recognising it as the comedy kindling it is and allowing their two stars a bit more rein. All in all, a solid bit of nostalgic escapism that reminds us they can make them like they used to and should do it more often.

Reviewed on: 14 Apr 2022
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The Lost City packshot
A romance novelist is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire who hopes that she can lead him to the lost city’s treasure from her story.

Director: Adam Nee, Aaron Nee

Writer: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, Aaron Nee

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Oscar Nuñez, Patti Harrison, Bowen Yang

Year: 2022

Runtime: 120 minutes

Country: Dominican Republic, US

Festivals:

SXSW 2022

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