The Lost City
Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum charm this film into an enjoyable flick
Star-driven films seem like a thing of the past. Hollywood is driven solely by IP, yet there are flickering signs of the old ways of Hollywood here and there. Such is the case with The Lost City (2022) a Paramount flick that fits a generic mold, but whose stars are the main draw.
The Lost City follows a romance novelist, Loretta (Sandra Bullock), who gets kidnapped by a British millionaire, Abigail (Daniel Radcliffe), who thinks there are clues in her latest book to find a lost city of hidden riches. Loretta’s book cover model Alan (Channing Tatum) will try and rescue her to prove that he’s not only a dim pretty face.
The Lost City is the third feature-length film from directing siblings Aaron and Adam Nee. They do a solid job of not getting in the way of their stars, and intelligently steerThe Lost City away from any self-seriousness. This latter choice is the most crucial, as it is in the satire and tongue-in-cheek nature of the story that the comedy is ripest. The Nee brothers co-wrote the script with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox, and there is a smattering of good jokes shuffled in. The Lost City does follow the lines of its genre a bit too closely, to the point that you barely remember the characters names, their backstory, or their motivation. This is most evident with the writing of the villain Abigail, which is extremely weak and barely seems like a threat to our characters. However, The Lost City seems more interested in twisting a scene around for a joke than in crafting narrative complexity.
The Lost City is crafted solely for its stars to steal the show. There is a scene-stealing cameo from Brad Pitt (horrendously ruined in the trailer) and a strong supporting role from Da’Vine Joy Randolph in a thankless role as Loretta’s literary agent. The film belongs to Tatum and Bullock, however. After a hiatus of sorts from making films, it seems fitting that in their return to the big screen the two should team up together. Tatum and his comedic timing continue to impress me, despite him having demonstrated it in the 21 Jump Street films. Likewise, it’s great to see Bullock back in the comedy genre, her first in nearly ten years since The Heat (2013). Bullock’s work seems so effortless that one might think she’s sleepwalking through the role, yet the skill with which she drops a joke or carries out physical comedy is truly admirable. The Lost City relies on its performers’ charm and chemistry to carry the film, and this is largely effective. The actor that suffers most is Radcliffe, who is stuck in the forgettable moustache-twirling-villain that he is incapable of bringing intrigue to.
In the end, The Lost City is a pleasant and enjoyable experience, heightened by the fact that we rarely get to see films like it anymore. The charming leads and the way they wield the hit-and-miss script infuses The Lost City with a light and enduring quality. The steady stream of chuckles is enough to carry viewers through the weaker elements of the script and into enjoying a simple time out with some popcorn.