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The Lost City Review

March 25, 2022 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
The Lost City Image Credit: Paramount Pictures
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The Lost City Review  

Directed By: Adam Nee & Aaron Nee
Written By: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox and Adam Nee & Aaron Nee
Runtime: 112 minutes
MPA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and some bloody images, suggestive material, partial nudity and language

Sandra Bullock – Loretta Sage
Channing Tatum – Alan Caprison
Daniel Radcliffe – Abigail Fairfax
Da’Vine Joy Randolph – Beth Hatten
Patti Harrison – Allison
Oscar Nuñez – Oscar
Brad Pitt – Jack Trainer

Paramount Pictures provided a quick preview for The Lost City last August at CinemaCon. The Paramount presentation opened with a sketch based on one of the scenes from the film, where both Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s characters are stuck while climbing a cliff. At first look, a movie with the two stars in an original romantic adventure seemed interesting.

The Lost City is by no means groundbreaking fare, but it’s watchable, inoffensive, and entertaining in its nearly two-hour runtime. Bullock stars as Loretta Sage, an expert in dead languages-turned-saucy romance author. Life took her down a different path, and she became a bestselling author of books about an adventurous doctor and her dashing, roguish love interest, Dash McMahon.

Still recovering from the loss of her archeologist husband, Loretta is finally ready to turn in her last book and cash out, much to the chagrin of her publisher Beth (Joy Randolph) and the model Alan Caprison (Tatum), who doubles as Dash McMahon on the cover of Loretta’s books. However, a reference in one of Loretta’s books manages to catch the eye of a rich business tycoon and aspiring treasure hunter, Abigail Fairfax (Radcliffe). Fairfax kidnaps Loretta to use her rusty knowledge of dead languages in order to uncover an ancient treasure in a lost city he discovered. The city is on the edge of an island with an active volcano, so Fairfax is desperate to find it at any cost before the volcano erupts and the treasure is lost to time.

While Romancing the Stone this is not, The Lost City attempts to channel a similar energy, although it achieves mixed results. The premise of a romance novelist with a background in ancient languages and getting caught up in an actual adventure from her own spicy books works. However, the other half of the romantic pair is a romance book cover model. This is where the story’s disbelief is stretched too thin.

That said, The Lost City does shine due to a strong, charismatic, and believable performance by Sandra Bullock. Channing Tatum’s presence as a cover model who gets dragged into the adventure to redeem himself to Loretta is logically shaky. However, Tatum puts in an amusing, earnest performance. Not to mention, the crack-onscreen romantic pairing of Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum works. The two exhibit weirdly good chemistry. Despite Bullock and Tatum appearing to be widely mismatched, their romantic tension and misadventures make the The Lost City work and decently watchable.

The Lost City has some bright spots in its supporting cast, with Brad Pitt as a scene-stealing ex-Navy Seal turned freelance mercenary, who Dash and Beth initially call to facilitate Loretta’s rescue. It’s a brief, yet satisfying, role for Pitt as a rugged hipster who perfectly embodies the type of male fantasy caricatures the female lead falls madly in love within literary romance schlock.

Daniel Radcliffe is also good as the weaselly Fairfax. He has a good presence as a bad guy with a chip on his shoulder. His attempts at monologuing and revealing his backstory tend to get amusingly interrupted.

The movie drags when directing duo Adam & Aaron Nee focus on Beth going on her own adventure in the film’s B-plot. Beth has her own little adventure story parallel to Loretta and Alan. However, it’s fairly uneventful and not as funny.

Despite having four credited writers, the script for The Lost City is a bit underdeveloped. The third act is strong, but parts of the middle section are a bit flabby. If it had focused a bit more on Alan and Sandra, and perhaps had come up with a better role for Alan, this film could be a solid B+ over a C or C-.

The final score: review Average
The 411
The Lost City is fairly predictable and conventional, but it's elevated by a good performance by Sandra Bullock, and Bullock and Channing Tatum's oddly good chemistry as a romantic pairing. It's passable, decently watchable romantic comedy fare.